by Gary North
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.
If you will do this exercise, you will come up with a list of unanswered questions.
Get them answered.
April 24, 2006
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