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Live A Life That Matters

Ready or not,
someday it will all come
to an end.

There will be no more sunrises,
no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected,
whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass to someone else.

Your wealth,
fame and temporal power
will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter
what you owned
or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments,
frustrations, and jealousies
will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions,
plans, and to-do lists
will expire.

The wins and losses
that once seemed so important
will fade away.

It won't matter
where you came from,
or on what side of the tracks
you lived, at the end.

It won't matter
whether you were beautiful
or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color
will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days
be measured?

What will matter
is not what you bought,
but what you built;
not what you got,
but what you gave?

What will matter
is not your success,
but your significance.

What will matter
is not what you learned,
but what you taught.

What will matter
 is every act of integrity,
compassion, courage or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or
encouraged others
to emulate your example.

What will matter
 is not your competence,
but your character.

What will matter is not
how many people you knew,
but how many
will feel a lasting loss
when you're gone.

What will matter
 is not your memories,
but the memories that live
in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long
you will be remembered,
by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters
doesn't happen by accident.
it's not a matter of circumstance
but of choice.

Choose to live a life
that matters.

by Michael Josephson
http://www.charactercounts.org/

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Created October 23, 2006