If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?

According to Steve Jobs (in the video below)

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

and

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

See also “You are never going to get caught up” and “You don’t even know what you’re procrastinating on“.

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About bradpierce

Brad develops EDA languages and synthesis tools. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA.

25 responses to “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

  1. fredarn says :

    Wow, that was truly great!

  2. bradpierce says :

    If today were the last day of my life, I would probably get pretty lazy about flossing.

  3. bradpierce says :

    Instead of asking “If this were the last day of my life, …”, maybe you should be asking “If this were the last day of THEIR life, what would you be doing?” And why aren’t you doing it?

    • RICHARD says :

      ‘Their life?’
      Death is personal. To the dying, the future is very limited. News of imminent death can’t be pinned on someone else and it doesn’t automatically make one eloquent or wise. It does, however, give you a realistic perspective on living what’s left. That’s what Jobs was trying to say.

      Submitted by one who knows…….
      and who is hollering from the choir loft…

  4. Anonymous says :

    This was an awakening….

  5. Anonymous says :

    When you reach the age of 68 you make sure you make every day count and at the end of the day you can smile about what you have done….Claudia

  6. tel says :

    If today is my last day, immediately i will meet my ex husband and will give a slap for leaving me and for marring another one.

    • beto says :

      why dont you jst marry me instead of hittin him. why waste d time. It’s ur last day :) Cheers for today and not cry about the past, tht should b the motive.

    • Anonymous says :

      why don’t u try threesome with both of them.It will be great experience of making love before dying.

      • RICHARD says :

        Written like an animal that does not know when to come in out of the rain. I pity you and hope that you learn some manners if nothing else in life.

        but that’s just me, hollering from the choir loft…

    • RICHARD says :

      You would be doing yourself a disservice to do such a thing. It would be better if you smiled and wished him well. After all, if you were living your last breaths, why waste them on bitterness.

  7. Sudha My says :

    If this is my last day,then i want to give something best and precious to someone who is in lost,i want to bring hope in their life and i want to die in peace.

  8. Jimena says :

    If it were the last day of my life, I’d do what probably any person would: Forget about worries and have fun doing everything that you wanted and would have made you look bad, not caring about anything, cause it’s the last day.

  9. Meghashyam Chirravoori says :

    I loved that video of Steve jobs…I think the single important thing I would do if I knew I would die tomorrow would be – that I would be happy right now! I would enjoy this moment – savour it – and relish even the most boring tasks like walking around the house… :)

    Thank you for sharing…

    • Mamta Smith says :

      Truth of life … No one wants to die… even m 2.. Want “short but purposeful life ” :(…

  10. Ashok Patidar says :

    Nice saying……….

  11. Vidhi (@smilevidhi) says :

    awesum..thnk you for sharing :)

  12. suraj says :

    if you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right…

  13. http://google.com says :

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  14. Otuagha says :

    Well,or said and done…. The question remains how many will ever decipher the last day of their life. I think what matters most is that death is not the end of the existence of the soul, but heaven or hell. Which do you choose to belong. If you choose hell, you may not really need to bother much about the last day of your life. Bcos even if you give out all you ever worked for to charity, you are still due for hell fire. On the other hand, if you choose heaven then your ticket is salvation which will teach you that living right, showing love and being kind is not reserved for the last day of your life. Folks I advice you choose heaven, just meet Jesus for your ticket of salvation. How does it work? Very simple, whether in your room, office anywhere. Simply acknowledge your sins, ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your life, believe He died to save you… Wow it is done this is the best decision you can ever make in life, and you know what? You will live each day with the hope to get to heaven someday. And the implication is that you will not have to wait for the last day of your life to do the right thing and of course the best. May God help you as you take this most important decision in life in Jesus name. Decide for Jesus now tomorrow might be too late

  15. bradpierce says :

    According to Robert Fritz

    If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.

    and

    The way to activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you activate vast human energies and resources, which otherwise go untapped.

    and

    At first, I am giving energy to the creation, but later the creation seems to be giving energy to me.

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