Many of us have taken at least one training class or self-improvement seminar where the leader asks you to write your own obituary and then read it and see if you are leading your life in the right direction so that you are remembered for what you love or what you do well. It is sort of an exercise where you look at what you have done so far and what you think people would say about you. It works pretty well if you do it honestly, although like most activities of this nature, you need to take it home with you and apply the lesson learned every single day. That is a difficult thing to do, unless the lesson learned stimulates you to make a major change or two in your life.
A few days ago, I got home from work and turned on the last half of the Oprah Winfrey show and found a very inspiring new take on this type of activity. A Carnegie Mellon professor talks about the "last lecture". If we could all face our mortality so impressively, the world would be a much better place. Watch this video and see if you aren't as challenged as I was to meet his level of humanity. "There's an academic tradition called the 'Last Lecture.' Hypothetically, if you knew you were going to die and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?" Randy says. "Well, for me, there's an elephant in the room. And the elephant in the room, for me, it wasn't hypothetical."
For some reason the link above does not seem to be working. The original video not edited for TV can be found doing a Google video search with the words "last lecture of Randy Pausch" There are several versions with longer introductions so you need to search through them for the thumbnail with his picture. The Winfrey program video can be found using the search "Randy Pausch reprising his "Last Lecture..."