If you haven't seen this, Inc. ran an article (19 February 2013) on "11 Life-Changing Questions You Musk Ask Yourself."
I like the introspective and thoughtful questions posed and believe it's well worth our time to think about these.
Looking back from your deathbed:
The first three questions (1-3) have to do looking at your life in terms of how you lived your life and how it will be viewed at the end. The point is not what title you achieved (CEO, VP, etc.) or how much money you accumulated in your life, but whose lives you touched and how profoundly.
Working to live:
The next two questions (4-5) have to do with how you earn you keep. I remember learning that life is not about living to work, but rather working to live. Do you work hard and contribute something real and meaningful, and is it something that you can be proud of.
Embrace good change:
There are two question (6-7) then about how you deal with change. When everyday is fundamentally the same and you're afraid to try new things, then you may very well be stuck in some sort of a rut. If you have the leeway to pick your change--look for ways to change that helps you grow into the person you want to be (and not just changing for changes sake).
Spend your time valuably:
Two questions (8-9) are about that the best things in life cannot be bought--real relationships, good deeds, being a mensch. Your time is your most valuable resource. Flower, candy, gifts are a nice gesture but don't make up for time invested and well-spent together with those you most deeply care about. Words and gifts are cheap, actions speak louder than words--volumes--about who we really are.
Treat others as G-d's creatures:
Question 10 points that people are G-d's precious creatures and the biggest test is how we treat them--do we do it with selfish interest or with empathy, kindess, and charity. I have never understood the many charity dinners and events where people get honored for their giving, rather than the honor being in the act of giving, itself.
Challenge yourself to be more:
The 11th question isn't about doing scary, stupid things, but rather challenging and pushing yourself to overcome what seems like our innate limitations and instead go beyond (break those barriers!).
While it is tempting to tire, to give up, or to just claim victory, as my grandfather used to say, "There is enough time to sleep after 120." ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)