post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things You Should Be Able To Say Before You Die

10 Things You Should Be Able To Say Before You Die

“Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Listen hard.  Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no regret.  Appreciate your friends.  Continue to learn.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is.”
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Many moons from now, just before you take your final breath, I hope, for your sake, that you are able to repeat the following ten headlines to yourself, honestly.

1.  I followed my heart and intuition.

As our friend Steve Jobs says:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.”

This is your life, and it’s a short one.  Don’t accept false choices.  Don’t let others put a cage around you.  Try what you want to try.  Go where you want to go.  Follow your own intuition.  Read Quitter.

2.  I said what I needed to say.

Everyone has this little watchdog inside their head.  It’s always there watching you.  It was born and raised by your family, friends, coworkers, bosses and society at large, and its sole purpose is to watch you and make sure you stay in line.  And once you become accustomed to the watchdog’s presence, you begin to think his opinion of what’s acceptable and unacceptable are absolute truths.  But the watchdog’s views are not truths, they’re just opinions – forceful opinions that have the potential to completely brainwash you of your own opinions if you aren’t careful.

Remember, the watchdog is just a watchdog, he just watches.  He can’t actually control you.  He can’t do anything about it if you decide to rise up and go against the grain.

No, you should not start randomly cussing and acting like a fool.  But you must say what you need to say when you need to say it.  It may be your only chance to do so.

Don’t censor yourself.  Speak the truth.  Your truth.

3.  I did what I needed to do.

Every morning you are faced with two choices:  You can aimlessly stumble through the day not knowing what’s going to happen and simply react to events at a moment’s notice, or you can go through the day directing your own life and making your own decisions and destiny.

The greatest gift extraordinarily successful people have over average people is their ability to get themselves to take action – to physically do something about getting from where they are now to where they want to be.  And no, it won’t be easy.  But in the end, suffering from the pain of discipline while you do what you need to do is a whole lot easier than suffering from the regret and disappointment of never fulfilling any of your dreams.

4.  I made a difference.

Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.

In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.

Doing something nice for someone can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  Read How To Win Friends and Influence People.

5.  I know what true love is.

Finding a companion or a friend isn’t about trying to transform yourself into the perfect image of what you think they want.  It’s about being exactly who you are and then finding someone who appreciates that.  Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason.

As with all things of the heart, there is an ingredient of magic in finding love.  There are no coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason.  Love is beautiful and unpredictable.  The best thing you can do is to start to become the most outstanding person possible.  The universe will know when you are ready, and when you are, true love will happen, unexpectedly.

6.  I am happy and grateful.

Very little is needed to create happiness.  It is all within you, in your way of thinking.  How you view yourself and your world are conscious choices and habits.  The lens you choose to view everything through determines how you feel about yourself and everything that happens around you.  You must choose to be happy.

A big part of this is simply being grateful for what you have.  As Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.”  Look around.  Appreciate the things you have right now.  Many people aren’t so lucky.  Read 12 Things Happy People Do Differently.

7.  I am proud of myself.

You are your own best friend and your own biggest critic.  Regardless of the opinions of others, at the end of the day the only reflection staring back at you in the mirror is your own.  How you feel about this person is vital to your long-term wellbeing.

Being proud of yourself is also known as having strong self-esteem.  People who are proud of themselves tend to have passions in life, feel content and set good examples for others.  It requires envisioning the person you would like to become and making your best efforts to grow as an individual.

Being proud isn’t bragging about how great you are.  It’s more like quietly knowing that you’re worth a lot.  It’s not about thinking you’re perfect – because nobody is – but knowing that you’re worthy of being loved and accepted.  Boost your self-esteem by recognizing your accomplishments and celebrating them.  Acknowledge your positive qualities, and when you come across a quality in yourself that you aren’t proud of, don’t sulk in your sorrows, proactively work on correcting it.  Read Today We Are Rich.

8.  I became the best version of me.

It’s a good idea to be yourself, not only because everybody else is taken, but because trying to be anything else doesn’t usually get you very far.  Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.  Strength, success and contentment come from being comfortable in your own skin.

Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”  Live by this statement.  There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes.  The only shoes you can occupy are your own.  If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.

Remember, at any given moment, you are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be.

9.  I forgave those who hurt me.

We’ve all been hurt by another person at some point or another – we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.  And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.

This causes problems.  It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people.  We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.  To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.

10.  I have no regrets.

This one is a culmination of the previous nine headlines…

Follow your heart.  Be true to yourself.  Do what you need to do fulfill your dreams.  Say what you need to say.  Be kind to others.  Offer a helping hand when you’re able.  Love those who deserve to be loved, and cherish the bond you share.  Appreciate all the things you do have.  Smile.  Celebrate your small victories.  Learn from your mistakes.  Forgive.  And let go of the things you can’t change.

Photo by: Garry

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  • This is such a relevant post - I am currently dealing with the severe illness of a loved one, which has me thinking about the importance of living the way you describe here. Thank you for writing this!

  • This is absolutely brilliant. I can’t even pick a favorite because all are so important. I feel pretty lucky to say that I can almost say this entire list and am working on trying to be able to say all of them.

  • Great list, Marc.

    If I would make this my goal list, I’m getting close to 10/10 with a few corrections to make :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for this. Seriously, I don’t know what it is but in the past few weeks, I’ve been learning a lot of life lessons and seeing how they’ve been applying to my life so fittingly. Especially the lesson of “Things happen for a reason.” I never understood it and was a believer of coincidence, but as of late, after someone I know taught about how there is a reason for things that happen to me, and seeing how it happened, I’m a believer in that quote. And since then my mind has expanded in a great way.

    This list is being hung up by my bed to read every day. Thank you.

  • I love this. Mega props.

  • One more. I have loved unconditionally…

  • Except for 8 and possibly 10, I am proud to say I can already say this. :)

  • Love, love, love this list :)

  • Appears I have some work to do. Thank you for the reminders.

  • I look forward to all your posts. They are relevant and insightful. We all get so busy with the minutia of living that we forget to follow our own intuition. I know these truths to be true instantly but sometimes have forgotten them express until I read what you’ve written~Thank you!

  • Yes, I can imagine myself years from now talking about my past. I would be so proud if I could say these 10 things. I’m going to work on it.

  • Thank you for sharing this list. I’m striving everyday to be the best version of myself.

  • This is your best list yet. Congratulations on distilling this wisdom into ten concise points.

  • Each of these would give me enough to think about for days…
    This will be bookmarked and looked at regularly. Thanks so much.

  • Thank you, in the morning this is the first email I open and for a reason.

  • This is one of your best lists. All of these points are so important but we all get caught up in the the little things and forget to love, forgive, make a difference and be happy.

    Also, it was only when a friend close to me died did I realise how we can’t postpone these things until tomorrow.

  • This is a great post! Thanks for pulling it all together. Well done. I hope this list reaches many people, because these are great philosophies!

  • All are great reminders. It’s important to note that if one learns to love unconditionally many of the points on the list will come together automatically. Love is the one thing that is truly real.

  • This made me cry! But in a good way. It inspires me. Thank you.


  • Honestly, was going to avoid another “10 things” list, but gave it a shot. Its a very good one. Thank you.

  • Thank you for this post. I love reading your blogs. You just don’t know what this post means to me. I have been an avid reader for a year and they have had a tremendous impact on my life. Thank you again.

  • This is really a great post!!! It inspires me a lot on pursuing my dream. Thanks a lot Marc!

  • Live life with no regrets and shame, everything’s a lesson in disguise, lose the emotional baggage, forgive yourself and others.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Thanks for the reminder of what’s important. Sometimes I have a tendency to lose focus.

  • Thank you for this wonderful post. So many people focus on things that don’t really matter (i.e. climbing the corporate ladder, keeping up with the Joneses, etc.). At the end of life, these 10 are what matter. It’s taken me many years and many life lessons, but I’m happy to say that now I’m living these 10.

  • I really love this article. Printed it out.

  • I agree with everyone above. this is a wonderful article. Sometimes I am the one always helping the neighbors and I will admit it can get hard but kindness to me is always the way to go. When I opened my home to my now 92 year old Mom four years ago after she suffered a heart attack as a hobby i started writing and blogging as my therapy. A lot of friends and some family did not get this. At first I wanted to stop because I was following the plan I was used to. I am so glad I decided to listen to my husband. he encouraged me to be the person i want to be …. I now love sharing my story…i love hearing others stories….I love your blog and read it every morning along with the answers and comments….we all have a story….we all can make life fun and interesting…..I am adding the link to my last show on kindness….its about how I judged by peoples costumes and avoided but once i began chatting realized we can be different but still be kind….
    thanks for reminding us to follow our hearts and that life truly is precious:)

  • Brilliant post. Thank you, this was exactly what I needed to read at this time in my life.

  • I would maintain that the best version of oneself is the version that works towards improvement continuously. There is always another goal, always a next step.

  • This is really moving! I must be happy with my life right now becasue I feel confident in 8 out of 10. But I may change my mind tomorrow. Thank you for this :)

  • Good on ya Marc and angel, another post that helps us lead our lives in a kinder and more adventurous way!

    J and B

  • I ♥ this post! Thank you for sharing!!! xo

  • Truly and inspirational 10 things. Much of this I am because I have been that way my whole life. However, that does not mean there aren’t times one questions, or ponders falling in with “the crowd’.

    Started my day with this read. Putting it in my google+ so I can find it again because it’s a great post to read several times.

    Aloha Wags!

  • Or things we should be dying to say while we’re alive Marc. Mine is similar to #5 - ‘I loved’. Many people never love fully or keep their heart to themselves. It’s simple better to have been a lover than a keeper.

  • This is so true and so powerful!
    Unfortunately most of us are usually so busy with our daily mundane activities of survival that we forget to stop and ask ourselves these key questions.
    From my experience, once you get into the habit of reviewing this list and answering those questions to yourself on a daily basis, your life is transformed. You get a very different perspective on life and start to focus on the things that really matter.

  • This is perfect timing for me. I’m totally stressed out with university classes of my own, taking care of the finances for our business, teaching part time, and trying, with the 2% of energy I have left, to do what it is becoming increasingly clear I’m truly supposed to do. Doing that requires quitting school–which is not the same as quitting my education– and being true to something bigger. What you wrote–none of it is true about me. What a wake-up call. Time for a sea change.

  • As always, thanks so much for the positive feedback, everyone. You’re making my week… again. ;-)

  • Just found your site, and I am already in love! Amazing post, very inspiring.

  • I love this list! Thank you for sharing :)

  • I stumbled this blog at right time. I have to let go of troubled relationship. This article was so inspiring for me. It made sense that things happen for good and no point on brooding over past. Headings which inspired me First: I followed my intuition, Third :I did what I needed to do. Fifth : I know what true love is. Nine-th : I forgave those who hurt me. Tenth : I have no regrets.

    Pls keep writing, you inspire people like me :)

  • Thanks for this post ! I’m gonna put this list as my desktop wallpaper.

  • Very beautiful post, the tenth headline is really what everyone should be able to say at the end of his life, even if that’s not so easy. But I really loved the third, so true yet so little used. It’s true that everyday when we wake up we have the choice to live the day to the fullest or just wander around. As someone else said the only rule to change your life is: if today you do what you did yesterday then tomorrow you’ll be where you are today. If nothing changes then everything remains the same. I’ve probably mixed things up a bit but the concept is very deep, and true.

    Great post, twweted and stumbled. Have a great weekend!

  • Excellent list! One addition: Perhaps one should also say before they die; “I believe in You.”

  • This is the MOST AWESOME blog EVER! And this is one of my favorite articles from it. Thank you Marc and Angel.

  • This is a fantastic post. As a business coach, I use these concepts regularly in my workshops. These concepts are very tied to being successful in business :)

  • I absolutely LOVE this blog - it always tells me exactly what I need to hear, as if the articles are written just for me. Please keep going and continue to inspire people you may never meet, but are forever grateful for your efforts.

  • This is on of the best blogs I’ve read in awhile .Always admiring you, Marc and Angel. Thanks.

  • This is so so so important! Thanks for sharing, for reminding, for making me aware again that I’m on the right track…

  • This site really changed my life… I read it every day for inspiration. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

  • I’ve been reading your articles for a few months now. They are truly inspiring, and helping me through a really rough time right now.
    This last article made me realize I’m not doing any of the 10 things, in fact the exact opposite. I need to make that change.

  • Wow! This article is so inspiring! I hope I am able to say all these things at the end of my life, because if I could it would mean that I have properly spent my life. :)

  • I have recently been diagnosed with leukaemia and am striving to come to terms with that. Your words remind me of all that really matters - and its actually the same knowing I have a terminal disease or blithely going along thinking I have all the time in the world. Love and love and more love - in all its myriad forms. And it is everywhere if I remember to hold it in my heart and to appreciate it.

  • Thanks a lot, your blog has slowly made me a better person.

  • Yes. All of it. XX

  • Thanx once again Marc & Angel..

    I am having a very hard time with 2, 7 & 9. I have lost the relationship with my brother due to “saying what I needed to say” in order to protect my children… It’s been over a year since we have spoken & it hurts me terribly that my children were placed on the back burner during many family activities & told there was no space for them.. This I can relate to since I have dealt with the same feelings my entire life… Hence 2 & 9 are extremely hard for me… I love my family & miss my brother.. I pray very hard daily to find a way to put it all behind us however I can’t seem to find it in me… Peace, love & acceptance is all I have ever wanted… This is where #7 comes into play… My self esteem is in the toilet a skeleton in my closet I have for many years tried to keep from creeping out… Despite all I the bumps in the road I continue to try to do the best I can & maybe one day I will find that peace I seek..

  • Love this post and I am so happy to be able to say that I can say ALL of them. I gave up the echo’s of my past, have forgiven it all when I realize carrying around my past was only hurting me. I spend time with those who want to be with me and those who do not I do not judge or condem it is their loss.

    I have and continue to learn to be the very best me and seek daily what there is for me to learn. Life has been hard but it has taught me to embrace each moment fully and carrying the baggage of my past will not allow me to do that. Thanks for an amazing post!

  • Thanks for this article! Just what I needed today to get clarity while setting my intentions for the rest of this year. Loved it!

  • I love everything this article says. Thank you.

  • What a wonderful article! , full of great wisdom and clearly stated. I shared this with my FaceBook friends, many of these things, I can say right now, but there are a few that definitely deserve my Time & Action!

    What a Great start to another incredible day of this gift of we call Life <3

  • 1. Please forgive me
    2. I forgive you
    3. Thank you
    4. I love you

    First heard this by dr. Byock and then rabbi Kushner

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