Have you ever had a “near-death” experience?
I guess I have. More than once. But they never felt like that. I came through them so quickly, I never really had time to contemplate thoughts of dying.
I was prompted to think about that by a video email I received this morning from a friend who puts out helpful advice for entrepreneurs regularly, and to which I am subscribed. It was a little off-topic for him, too, but he’d been prompted to reflect on the topic because of a workshop he’d recently attended by Iman Aghay, who’d himself been prompted to change his life’s direction because of his own near-death experience. I subsequently listened Aghay’s TED Talk.
The subject is worth reflecting on, whether or not you’ve had a near-death experience.
And, it’s worth acting on without having to survive such an experience.
In Aghay’s near death experience, he reflected on the three big questions most often contemplated when one is facing death. The first one:
What do I regret about my life?
In his talk, Aghay referenced research that has found that there are five main things that those facing death regret, or wish they’d done differently:
- I wish I’d lived my life true to myself, instead of living for other people’s expectations;
- I wish I’d not worked so hard, but spent more time enjoying my life;
- I wish I’d expressed my feelings more;
- I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends;
- I wish I’d let myself be happier.
The second big question Aghay contemplated was:
What did I make of my life?
Would I be happy with what I leave behind? It’s important to feel I have made a contribution to this world in some way, not just ambled through life, taking from the world what it offered me.
Aghay said it is important to live the life of our dreams, to live a life true to our hearts, not just let life happen to us.
The third big question:
What would I change if I survived my deathbed today?
I guess he’d improved enough to contemplate survival. People are generally not afraid of dying, he said, but they are afraid of losing everything that mattered to them, those things they’d worked hard for.
It all comes down to our small daily choices, Aghay said. Small decisions each day that can lead to bad habits, and ultimately regrets, or bring us closer to our dream. “What habits must you change that are standing between you and your dreams,” he asked?
“Take action today,” he challenged, “and change the one habit that will cause your biggest regret if you died tonight.”
Should we need a near-death experience to take action? Worth pondering . . .
At least, that’s how I see it . . .
For those interested here is Aghay’s Ted Talk