What if you had only one year to live? I know… what a depressing thought, but hear me out. Let’s just say, solely for argument’s sake, you were told that your days were numbered and you only had a year left. What would you do? Who would you spend time with? What would you change? How would you live your last year?
“O.k. Timeout. What does any of this have to do with inspiration?” you might ask (after all, inspiration is the topic of the month)? Plenty. But before we can go any further, let’s look at the definition of inspiration. Whatever resource you consult, the general definition of inspiration usually looks something like this “stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity” (Collins English Dictionary, 10th edition). And while I wouldn’t disagree with that definition, it lacks something. But if you go all the way to the root of the word, you begin to find its true meaning. Turns out, inspiration is from the Latin “inspiratus” which loosely translates to “breathing in the spirit” (Online Etymology Dictionary). Now that’s more like it. When we feel inspired it feels like our spirit is fully alive inside of us. So, what does that have to do with death? My point is simple. If you are feeling uninspired, you need to breathe in the spirit. You need to strip away the unessential and reconnect with who you are and what really matters to you. In that place lies inspiration. What better way to do that than to look death squarely in the eye and know that your days are numbered. After all, aren’t they?
So, back to my questions… You’ve got one year left to live. How do you intend to live it? Consider the following BIG questions:
1. What have you been putting off? Conversations you need to have? Adventures you’ve always wanted to take? Leaps of faith you couldn’t muster the courage for?
2. What would you want people to say about how you lived your life? Were you courageous? Were you inspiring to others?
3. What will your legacy be? What difference do you want to make with your life over the next year?
Here’s my final question, and frankly it is the most important of all of the questions:
What would your life be like if you lived next year based on your answers to the questions above?
Life’s too short. For a both inspiring and moving example, consider Randy Pausch, the Professor at Carnegie Mellon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007. His “last lecture” video is a great example of how he answered all of these questions before he died. Live the next 12 months like this and you’ll not only have a life full of inspiration, you’ll be inspiring countless others along the way.