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"I know I will die, but I do not know how long I will live."

  • Feb 24, 2013
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"I know I will die, but I do not know how long I will live."

That statement sets the foundation for Robert D. Smith's 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now. It's a statement we all know is true, but it rarely drives what we do each day or with our lives in general. This is a good read if you want to change up the way you view your life, and as I get older this makes even more sense.

Section 1 - The 20,000-Day Mind-set: 20,000 Days and Counting; 5/5/55; The Little-Known Story of William Borden; Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last; If We Can Learn How to Die, We'll Know How to Live; The State of Intensity; Eat Dessert First
Section 2 - Beating the Clock: Motivation Is a Myth; You Only Have Two Choices; The Real Challenge; Focusing Your Morning Vision; Doing What You Know; How To Conquer Rejection Forever; Ripples
Section 3 - Today Is Day One: Three Steps to Catapult Your Life; Seven Questions to Seize the Essence of Today; Ten Things You Can Do Now; One Final Notes - My Desire for YOU
One Final Life Quote; Notes; Acknowledgments

This book was driven by Smith's realization that midway through his 54th year, he had lived 20,000 days. But he was left with the question... how many more days did he have left, and what would be the legacy he'd leave behind once those days were over? Looking at his life from the perspective of seeing the end and then looking back to what got him there, he came to understand that each day could be his last, and there was no way to know when that would happen. As such, he wanted to live each day as if it was going to be the last one, maximizing both the impact of the specific day and his work towards whatever legacy he wanted to leave. It may sound morbid to think of each day as being the one that could bring your death, but it's the painful truth. It's also liberating in that you accept the outcome, and you start to do whatever you can to make "your last day" all that it can be.

This is a short book (he wrote it so that it shouldn't take more than an hour), and it's worth the minor investment in time to read. While there's a fair use of Bible verses as well as some of the concepts related to spirituality coming from a Christian perspective, it isn't (in my opinion) such that it would invalidate or drown out the principles for someone who doesn't follow the same faith or beliefs. Not all the ideas resonated well or felt important to me, but enough of them did to make his approach to life one that should be considered and applied.

20,000 Days and Counting reminds me of a much more readable and emotional version of Stephen Covey's 2nd habit in his The Seven Habits of Highly Effect People book... "Begin with the End in Mind". Whether you're 22 or 52, the "end" will happen. It's simply a matter of when, and you usually don't get to know that. Reading 20,000 Days and Counting is a way to start making your remaining days (whether they be 2 or 22,000) count for more than they might currently be valued at this point in your life.

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #42
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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"I never trust anyone who claims to have all the right answers. But someone who can help me figure out all the right questions? That guy is gold. And that's what Robert D. Smith delivers in 20,000 Days and Counting."
-- Dave Ramsey | New York Times Best-Selling Author and Nationally Syndicated Radio Host

"It's no accident that this little book found its way into your hands. Don't underestimate it. It will change forever how you think about your life. Read it. Absorb it. Live it!"
-- Michael Hyatt | New York Times Best-Selling Author, Former CEO, Thomas Nelson Publishers

"Inside these pages is a crash course in making the most out of this adventure called 'life.' It's simple, powerful, and perfectly reflects my neighbor in Nashville who always has a fresh way to look at any challenge I'm facing."
-- Jon Acuff  Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author of Quitter
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