Don’t Let the Dust Settle Before the Dust Settles

Most people don’t know they’re about to die. Even if we understand that we’ll not live forever, we’re thinking our date with destiny is years in the future.

So, many of us don’t talk about life insurance. We don’t talk about about writing a will. We don’t set up trusts for our children. We procrastinate partially because of time, partially because of money, but mostly, I think, because we just don’t want to think about what it will be like when we’re not here, what we’ll miss and what life will be like for those we leave behind.

We need to do it anyway. And once you go through the time, expense and emotional upheaval, be sure to revisit it yearly and go through it all over again. Otherwise you may wind up like Heath Ledger, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, never having updated his will after his daughter Matilda was born.

So, now Matilda will have to rely on the kindness of her grandparents and aunt to receive father’s financial legacy. I’m sure Heath would not have wanted it that way, and I’m confident his family will abide his wishes, at least as best they can.

But it would have been so much easier for everyone if Heath had just updated his will.

So, if you haven’t communicated your final wishes, and put it down on paper, please do. And if you already have everything in order, please review it today. And review it whenever there’s a change in your circumstances. And once a year anyway.

It’s worth doing.

The Imperfect Giants Prove that Excellence Is More Rewarding than Perfection

As I watched the New York Giants come from behind to beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, I was struck by the life lesson that presented itself.

The Patriots, 18-0 were headed for perfection. They’d already accomplished something that had never been accomplished before – winning more games in one season than any other team. Now they were reaching toward the holy grail only accomplished once before, when the 1972 Dolphin team capped off their perfect season with a victory in Super Bowl XII.

Their opponents were the NY Giants, who stumbled their way into the Super Bowl not by having one of the best records. They earned their wild-card berth and used their grit, determination and heart to rumble past teams with better records to secure their right to become a footnote in the record books and be there as the Patriots used them to catapult into history. Or so everyone (at least everyone not from New York) thought.

As I sat there and watched a different kind of history unfolding I was reminded of a lesson that life just keeps on teaching me. There is much more happiness in excellence than there is in perfection. Perfection is very difficult to maintain and causes all kinds of stress. There’s nowhere to go but down.

If, instead,  you strive for excellence it’s okay to fall down, as long as you pick yourself back up. Figure out what worked and what didn’t work. Make adjustments.  Then get back in the game. There’s always another opportunity to strive for excellence.

So, congratulations to the Giants, who helped me remember an important life lesson.

And congratulations to the Patriots, too, who will undoubtedly pick themselves back up after a very disappointing loss and strive for excellence again next year.

Very well done.  Thank you.

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