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There is a fair chance that you will be reading this blog post on an iPhone, or a MacBook, or an iPad, as they are currently very popular devices.  Apple, the company that makes them, is at the moment by far the most valuable brand in the world.  Those who like Apple products (and many of those who don’t) will be familiar with the name ‘Steve Jobs’, which of course is the name of the man who led Apple to massive commercial success as its CEO, having also been there at the beginning as one of its co-founders.  Jobs, who stepped down from the helm at Apple due to ill health in 2011, was only 56 at the time of his death a few months later.


“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs


We may not want to be involved in the world of hi-tech gadgets or boardroom battles, but I would suggest that whatever path we follow, Jobs’ words above are relevant to us all.  We each have a finite amount of time in which to consider what we’d like to do with our lives, plan how we are going to do it and then finally execute that strategy to the best of our ability.  That goal may or may not match up with the hopes our early care givers had for us.  Often things come up that make us reconsider our initial plans, and of course we need to weigh up the resources available to us if we are going to make a good go of realizing our ambition.  I would argue that heading in one particular direction, even if we change our minds further down the line and veer to the left or the right, is more productive than ambling towards the finish line with no particular vision or purpose.  Knowing what we want in life is important to figure out.

One idea which struck me as novel was expressed by a monk on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago.  His plan of attack, he explained, was to work out how long he felt he had on this earth (mindful of the fact that no-one gets a guarantee about how long that will be), and then to work back from what he perceived to be the likely end until he reached the present day.  By doing this, he argued, he could prioritise what he did and could attend to the important things before he spent time on what might be considered less important.

Steve Jobs knew that he was ill, and perhaps knew at some stage that he was unlikely to recover.  How would your view of what is important to do next change if you were told you had only five years, or three years, or just one year to live?  One exercise that I have carried out with clients before is to put them on the spot and ask them – right there and then – to tell me what they’d like to say if they only had 20 seconds left before their life came to an end.  Clients often find it insightful to explore what came out of their mouths with what they imagined would be their final breath.  Perhaps you could try this yourself?  Perhaps you just have? :-)

If you feel you have something you’d like to do, or something you’d like to contribute with the time you have remaining, what would that be?  I would suggest that we can all live ‘a life worth living’, and that taking control over our choices and where we spend our energy is a definite step in the right direction.

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

A Life Worth Living

A Life Worth Living | Ashwood Therapy Blog