Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at a professional healthcare conference attended by leaders from three states. My topic was great and I was jazzed about presenting it.
The speaker preceding me was a young man named Matt Jones. Matt is a three-time cancer survivor whose story has been featured in national magazines and on TV shows. While a senior in college, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and given less than 10% chance of survival.
After developing a fever, Matt slipped out of consciousness. Unsure if he would make it through the night, doctors had family and friends called. Matt not only survived but, one year after finishing chemotherapy and relearning how to walk and talk, he completed marathons in San Diego and Rome. He has since completed marathons on six continents and is in training for the seventh in Antarctica. He is an impressive young man.
Matt’s message was elegant in its simplicity, “Be mindful of each day.” We could tell by the tone of his laugh that deep down, having looked down the barrel of that gun three times, he really was not affected by what others may have thought of him.
This took me back to 1993 and Jim Valvano’s inspiring words at the Espy’s, (knowing he was not likely to survive as Matt ultimately did).
“...To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week; you're going to have something special….”
“…. Time is very precious to me….” Jim Valvano.
Matt Jones made me think, “Are all or most of the areas of my life in the right priority?”
How about you? Are these areas of your life in the right priority?
3. Health/Physical well-being
6. Friendships/Social life
7. Education/Personal growth and development
9. Citizenship/Community stewardship
Jimmy Valvano was right. Don’t hold back. If there is somebody important to you, tell them. If there is something you need to say, say it. If there is something to do, do it. What are you waiting for?
Laissez les bon temps roulez!