How I Want To Die

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Scott Crossfield,
84, died last Wednesday when his single-engine Cessna crashed in
north Georgia. Crossfield was the first pilot to fly at twice the
speed of sound. That was in 1953. He later got very close to Mach-3.
I mention this because this is the way I want to go: doing my work.
Of course, that’s not in a Cessna. I want my wife to find my body,
head face down on my 1983 PC AT keyboard, with a string of 7s across
the screen.

One of the
mental exercises that I recommend that people do is to imagine that
they are at their 70th birthday party. All of their relatives
have gathered. They then give a speech — no more than ten minutes
— on what they think were their life’s greatest successes outside
of their family, and why. Half of the speech should be devoted to
the what and why, and half to the how.

This exercise
is important because it forces people to consider what they have
done with their lives so far.

Second, it
forces them to assess if they have accomplished what they really
want to accomplish.

Third, it forces
them to think through the choices they must make in order to bring
their dreams to fruition.

Fourth, it
forces them to make concrete plans.

People refuse
to do this because it is too painful. It reveals to those who have
never thought about their goals that they have nothing very specific
in mind. With nothing specific in mind, people rarely wind up in
the condition that they would have preferred to wind up, had they
given it much thought.

Add to this
the threat of inflation for most people’s “golden years.” Then add
default of private pension programs, a collapse of the stock market,
and soaring health care expenses.

Hardly anyone
flies out like Scott Crossfield.

you will do this exercise, you will come up with a
list of unanswered questions

Get them answered.

24, 2006

North [send him mail] is the
author of Mises
on Money
. Visit
He is also the author of a free 17-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible

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