Looking Back On My Life, I Set My Future

Many of us will live into our 90’s. Most consider that a long period of time.

For perspective, if you are currently thirty, that means that you will potentially live every minute of your life you have experienced from moment of birth…again…two more times. Are you forty-five? You could potentially relive your number days lived on this planet to date, in full, again.

Imagine yourself, for a moment, at the age of ninety. See yourself on your deathbed, traversing the memories of your life.

What kind of memories do you want to have?

What kind of life do you want to have lived?

What story do you want to tell?

How will you have affected other peoples’ lives?

If you are like me, you do not want to carry too many regrets. We are all flawed, being human, and all have regrets. But what is your threshold?

There have been a number of studies and articles in recent years, assessing which cultures of the world are the happiest. Typically, Bhutan and Copenhagen are at the top. Why?

Copenhagen: This charming Scandinavian city (one of my personal favorites in the world) is politically socialistic. Being so, they place great value on community needs (on the larger group of people, as opposed to greater value focused on the individual). Copenhagen makes the list due to the intensive focus community engagement. Apparently, feeling part of a community leads towards greater happiness. Because the community places great value on serving each other and respecting others rights, the Danes, relatively and generally speaking, seem to be happier than others around the world.

Bhutan: This population is predominantly made up of Buddhists. The people of Bhutan, as a course of normal event, meditate daily on the impermanence of life (the certainty that you are going to die one day). Such a meditation causes them to live more fully in the moment. After all, the next moment could be your last.  Knowing that you could, realistically speaking, die tomorrow, helps you live a little more fully today. Such a perspective, apparently, brings the Bhutanese a lot of happiness.

Community engagement and living for the day…leads to…greater happiness.

As I am on my deathbed, should I find myself at such a ripe age and having the mental faculties to remember my past, I hope to feel that I have truly LIVED life and have done so in a way that I am proud of, without too many regrets or wrongdoings.

What does this have to do with Entrepreneurship?

Well, I choose to be an entrepreneur in the arts, as  1. My talents, passion and interests are in the arts and  2. I want to serve others, to contribute to something beyond myself and to create a good in this world that was instigated by my own energies and choice.  Engaging with my community and LIVING life in the moment–boldly and by choice, gives me a sense of meaning and personal fulfillment. In brief, it makes me feel happy.

Do you have a feeling of community?

Do you feel that you live in the moment?

Here is a little exercise for you:

Write your own eulogy. Take ten minutes and write down what you would like people to say about you upon your death. Imagine someone giving this particular speech at your funeral (or whatever circumstance you might personally imagine, following your demise).

Now, how do you shape your life to be that person, if you are not already?

Just asking the question can lead you to your answers.

Jim Hart is the founder of Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, The Hart Technique and The International Theatre Academy Norway.

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