One day I was standing in a building waiting for the elevator to arrive. During this time, there was already a pregnant lady standing beside me.
As we entered the elevator and pressed the required floor button, an old man in his eighties suddenly appeared opening the building’s main door, and I saw on his face the desperate look of trying to reach the elevator before it goes up, so I immediately stopped and opened the elevator door for him. When he entered the elevator, he smiled and said in a very kind and ironic manner: ‘’Thank you so much for helping an old man like me who is useless now in this stage of life and about to die soon’’.
After I went out of the elevator, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the whole situation. And even though it’s a very normal daily situation, I found my brain connecting a triangle where the three angles are the baby who will be born soon and will start his life, me as the middle-aged man, and this old man who feels that his life will end soon. I found my imagination flying, and I started asking myself: ‘’If I had the chance to speak with this old man more, what type of advice would he give me at this phase of his life? What type of advice would he give to this newborn baby after he or she is born? Is he happy and satisfied with what he achieved in his life or is there a place deep inside of him where he longs to go back in time to change something? Was it my destiny to see the full stages of the human life cycle reflected in the form of the pregnant lady, the old man and me, gathered in an elevator, in order to trigger me to think about what I want to achieve in my life and to look forward to how I want my ending to be?’’ all of those questions I found popping up to my mind suddenly and I couldn’t do anything to stop them.
After almost a day of having a flashback on my life, I started asking myself: ‘’what is my life’s purpose? What do I want to achieve in my life? When I leave this life, what imprint do I want to leave behind me? What do I want the people to remember me for?’’.
In Stephen Covey’s book ‘’the seven habits of highly effective people’’, one of the habits is ‘’Begin with the end in mind’’.
As explained in the book, Covey meant that no matter how much you are busy in your daily life and no matter what you are doing, you have to add a sense of purpose to what you do each day. And this sense of purpose is through having a vision and by keeping the end target of what you are doing in your mind. You have to define your required outcome in advance and not only to care about getting things done. Think about it from this angle and ask yourself: what is my vision? What do I want to reach in life? What do I want my colleagues at work to say about me after I retire or leave my work? What do I want my family and friends to remember me for after I die?
One of the stories that demonstrate the importance of having a vision and beginning with the end in mind was the story of how the Nobel Prize was created. Alfred Nobel created the Nobel Prize because he was lucky enough to pass through a situation which changed his way of thinking before it was too late. To give a little background about him, he was the inventor of ‘’Dynamite’’ the explosive material. The dynamite, as with any other invention on the planet can be used for good or bad, depending on the person using it. When he created dynamite, he thought that his invention would mainly be used for peaceful work and he also thought that he had done humanity a service.
But he was wrong!!!
In 1888, Alfred Nobel’s brother died. A French newspaper was mistaken and wrote that Alfred Nobel was the one who died instead of his brother and published Alfred Nobel’s obituary under a header which said ‘’The Merchant of death is dead’’ and it condemned him for his invention of dynamite. Alfred was disappointed with what he read and was concerned about how he would be remembered after his death, and he came up with the idea of the Noble Prize where he allocated 94% of his total assets to establish the five Nobel prizes. And that was the legacy which Alfred Nobel left behind to memorialize his name, that’s what he wanted to be remembered for.
What about you? What is your vision? What is your life’s purpose? Which legacy do you want to leave behind you in life?
Do you need a once in a lifetime coincidence like what happened to Alfred Nobel to occur to you to remind you to think about your end targets and what you want to achieve in your life? And even if you were lucky enough to have such a coincidence in your life, what guarantees that it will not be already too late?
We as human beings cannot predict the future; we cannot predict if we will reach our desired goals or not. But what we can do is to know why we are doing what we are doing, and to keep our focus on our end targets, and to align our actions with them. So whether your goal is to build a great family, have success in business, sports, music or anything, always have a vision by beginning with the end in mind and take consistent actions towards this end target.
And as Helen Keller, the author and the political activist said: ‘’ the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision’’.