In a Commencement Address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said,

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.

Ric Elias was a passenger on flight 1579, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? In this short five-minute speech, he shares how facing his own death gave him a new perspective on life. It’s well worth watching. (Thanks to Darrell Vesterfelt at the Storyline Blog for sharing this.)

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16 thoughts on “The Last Day of Your Life

  1. What a powerful video. A great reminder that we never know when something will suddenly happen to rob us of the life we want with the people we want.

  2. Choosing to “eliminate negativity” from our lives is what I’m taking away from this awesome message. Thank you for the reminder that we have the choice.

  3. Perspective is one of the most important things in life. As a paramedic, I have watched life come and go. One of the biggest questions asked by most people in the back of my truck was, “Am I going to die?” I would always look them straight in the eye and simple say “Yes”. I followed that with “We are all dying. Some of us quicker than others.” Then threw in “But not right now. That’s a bad day for you and lots of paperwork for me.” The biggest take away is we are all dying. Make the most of every moment.

  4. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful reminder that life can be short and that the most important thing is really our family. Sometimes we let the everyday grind of life rob us of the most important jobs we have: being a mother or father.

  5. Definitely powerful, makes you think! I sent many I love you text after watching it! Picking up the phone this week too…

  6. I remember seeing Captain Sully speak about the event – as he recounted everything in real time (with maps and actual audio) I was amazed at how fast it all happened.

    Amazing how clarity, focus, and what matters most arrives in a moment like this. How important it is not to wait for this moment to engage that awareness…

  7. What a powerful reminder to focus on what is truly important in life.

    A few years ago when I went through a severe medical issue and I thought perhaps I was dying I came to two realizations. One I wasn’t ready to go. I wanted to see my kids grow up and enjoy more time with my wife. And second I realized I wasn’t afraid. I know where I will be when I go.
    Both of those re-centered my life around what is truly important and gave me a fresh boldness for life. Both amazing gifts.
    Thankfully the medical issue was finally resolved. But the gifts have remained.

  8. Thanks Michael. The choice to be a great Husband, Father, and be happy sums up beautifully my life quest. I’ve found that’s really all that matters in this life.ML

  9. It is a good question. I also think about that a lot. We need to think that we have already died and came back. Visualise it. It is hard but possible when listening to such stories.

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