Steve Jobs is a polarizing figure for many. Ask one-hundred people what they think of him and you'll most likely get one-hundred unique answers. One thing that I feel we all can agree on was his relentless dedication to mastery along with providing sources of inspiration for us.
Perhaps his most inspirational moment came at Stanford Universities commencement in 2005. While that speech and all three stories are fantastic, the biggest and most impactful story was the third, which dealt with death. It was in this story that he shared the sentence that we all can use each morning to be more intentional and precise with our actions and decisions.
After reading a quote about death when he was 17, he asked himself each morning in the mirror "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I'm about to do today?"
This question is powerful because it forces you to focus and think long and hard about what you do on a daily basis. In fact, when you start a habit of asking yourself this question each morning, these two benefits will manifest out of it.
1. It's easier to figure out which tasks are essential
Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca states that "it's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it."
In today's entertainment-on-demand world where distractions are plentiful, it's easy to catch yourself getting off track toward the goals that you are working towards.
But, using this question as your guide to making decisions makes saying "no" to opportunities and tasks much easier.
You're less likely to mindlessly surf social media, engage in "busy work" that doesn't swing the pendulum forward, nor hang around people who aren't high-valued because you realize those things don't serve you or your legacy.
2. Less worrying about what people think
Often times, our biggest barrier to pursuing our dreams, passions and taking action toward those things we want is the fear of what others will think or say.
And even worse, it's often times the people closest to us who we're worrying about the most. Yet, at the end of the day, worrying about what outside opinions think of you isn't serving you.
If today is, in fact, your last day, would you really be concerned about outside opinions?
Probably not. You would be focused on making the most out of the day along with leaving the biggest impact possible.
When you place a priority on what people think, you're relinquishing your power and capping your potential in business and the impact that you could create in the world.
When you quit worrying about what others think of you, you'll have that extra space to use for more creativity and energy to make an impact on the world (and not to mention less stress).
Asking this question each morning instills a laser-focused mentality to the day. There's no worrying about a future filled with "what ifs" nor is there worrying about a past filled with "what ifs". There's only a focus on the present moment, which is fully under your control.
Adopting this mentality engineers you to operate from a state of purpose and drive.