I pondered this question, sitting in the depressing oncology department as my wife was getting her 8th out of 12 chemotherapy treatments back in August 2009. Conversations with other cancer patients and their significant others often turned around what was lost with cancer and how their priorities changed. And then, to insert hope in the discussion, we would talk about what we had left that we cherished.
It felt cliché at the time - you only know what's important once you lose it. But it's true. When I (and they) got stripped of what I we made life 'life', this question had to be answered. And the soul-searching did me some good.
In the blink of an eye, with one phone call, or with one sentence uttered from the doctor's mouth, the following things can disappear (in no particular order ;) )
- my stuff
- my health
- my loved ones health
- my achievements and distinctions
- my reputation
- my plans
- my social involvement
- my affiliations
- my stuff - bis (I know I already said it, but it's so important sometimes, it bears repeating)
So what's left ? What can I grab on when I feel like Job ?
- my values and my faith
- my resolve
- my REAL friends
Here's one man very touching and eloquent take on it.
My friend Reg Athwal, a world reknown expert on Human Resources, posted this story which I think demonstrates the power of perspective. It's something that struck me in the last year that I needed, and something I think all entrepreneurs who get sucked into their businesses need more of.
One day, a very rich man decided to teach his son about life, and took him on a trip to a very poor village and they spent a couple of days with a very poor family. When they returned home, the father asked his son:
- Did you like our trip?- Yes dad. - Did you see how these people live?
- Yes dad. - Tell me then, what did you learn from this trip? The son replied:
- I saw that we've got 2 dogs, they've got 4. We have a pool in the middle of the garden, they have a huge lake. We've got imported lamps for the patio, they have the stars. We live on a small lot, they live on a big farm surrounded by meadows. We have maids to serve us, they help each other with everything. We buy our food, they grow it. We have a wall surrounding our house to protect us, they have friends to rely on.
The father was speechless.
And the son added:- Thank you for showing me how much we still lack daddy!!
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