TED Conversations

Arkady Grudzinsky


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If this were the last day of your life, how would you spend it?

It just occurred to me today that finishing my most urgent project at work wouldn't be on my to do list. I would love to read some thoughts or stories.

...After reading some responses, it seems that most people would do what they always wanted to do and take care of things that they value most. But why wouldn't we do these things in the first place, regardless of how long we have left? I don't mean it as a rhetorical question - it would be interesting to read some thoughts.

Topics: Values

Closing Statement from Arkady Grudzinsky

I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this conversation. Lots of interesting thoughts and perspectives.

Perhaps, most notable conclusions:

1. At the end, we focus on what matters most for us, and for most people it's people we love - most people would spend time with family, friends, write letters, etc.

2. It should not matter whether we live the last day of our life or not. Perhaps, we should just do what we do any other day, like having a cup of nice tea, and enjoy the moment.

It's hard to summarize everything that was said here - worth reading.

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  • Jan 25 2013: At first I thought I wouldn't do anything differently and seek happiness moment by moment. Then I thought about it.

    When I die, society loses the contents of my mind. It would be to their enduring benefit to offer them my best thoughts before I go.

    That probably wouldn't happen, though. For the same reason that I don't work on that in the first place. Low self-esteem. I don't feel competent that my ideas are valuable or that I possess the skills to pass them on at all. So I try to forget about it and live comfortably. It sort of works.

    Death means no consequences the next day. So no consequences of trying to do something you can't do and failing. This gives people extra confidence. That's why they start thinking of acting on their values then instead of everyday.
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      Jan 27 2013: Re: " I don't feel competent that my ideas are valuable or that I possess the skills to pass them on at all."

      I don't think, we need to have any ideas or skills to make, sometimes, profound impact on each other's life. Just being ourselves is sufficient. Here is a video that illustrates this thought:


      And here is an interesting quote I found (source unknown): “You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”
      • Jan 27 2013: then why does it matter if it's the last day of my life?
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          Jan 27 2013: I guess, you answer your question in your last paragraph. Perhaps, this thought helps us to be ourselves.

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