What It Is Like to Prepare to Speak at a TEDx Conference (Part 3) [The Video]

Here is the TED Talk I delivered at the TEDx Plano event.

It is about the time value of life.  I hope you like it.



via YouTube.


Part of the talk is about lessons learned during my father's year-long fight with cancer. 

One of my biggest take-aways from that struggle was about the time value of life.

Let me explain.

In finance, the "time value of money" refers to the principle that the purchasing power of money can vary over time (meaning, money today might have a different purchasing power than money later). In part, this is because the value of money at a future point in time might be calculated by accounting for other variables (like interest earned, or inflation accrued, etc.).

It occurred to me that a similar calculation applied to life … or living.

Live Like You Only Have a Year Left.

During the last part of my Dad's life, I think he would have done almost anything for a little more time.

Things that used to be unimportant, or even mildly irritating, took on increased importance. For example, a dinner together became almost a sacred event; a kiss goodnight was truly heart-felt; and saying good-bye meant something … because it could be the last time.

Nevertheless, as a result of that focus, he took more life out of that time.

Shouldn't we do the same thing?  Think about it … We are never going to be younger than we are, right now.  We are never going to have more time to fix a big mistake.  Isn't it likely that the time value of your life, is worth maximizing?


Instead, "life" (the noun) often gets in the way of "living" (the verb).

That is why I called the talk:  The Time Value of a Life Worth Living.


Here are some other excerpts from the talk.


People Who Are Good Take Advantage of Opportunities.  People Who Are Great Create Them.

When I think back to that year, I spent so much time moving away from pain … that I forgot to move towards opportunity.  I feel like I wasted so much time.

My Dad said the difference between good and great is infinitesimal.  People who are good take advantage of opportunities … But people who are great create them.

I think what he meant was that when they see the opportunity, they move towards it.  They shoot through it.

It is easy to say, "I see that opportunity; but it's not the right time."  Or, "I see that opportunity, and I really want to remember it for when this is over."  And as much as I want to believe that's true … deep down, I know that it's always a good time to take the right action. 


The Game of Life.

Do you like playing games?  That's like asking if you like surprises … You like the good ones!

Life is like a blank game board.  And we get to choose the games to play. We get to choose the rules, the scorecard … even how we show up, and when we play.   And together, that determines whether we feel like we're winning or losing … or growing or dying.

I believe that, to some extent, how you do 'something' is how you do 'everything'.  And so, how you play games probably says a lot about how you deal with life.


To Improve Your Life, Improve Your Minimum Standards.

Minimum standards define your life, your accomplishments, and your sense of who you are.

Most goals are aspirational … They define things that you know you want, and want to move towards.  But some goals really define the absolute minimum.  The absolute 'Yes'es and the absolute 'No's … with no leeway.

Think about the water line when you are treading water.  If your nose is beneath, you can't breathe.  If you stay there too long, you die. So you have to kick hard enough to get above.  And it's only when you're above, that you can see the other areas that are falling beneath.  And it seems like there's always something falling underneath.

That's precisely why minimum standards define the quality of your life.  It is because so many of your thought cycles, so much of your effort, so much of your activity, is spent trying to kick back above … that you don't always have time for more.


To Change Your Life, Change Your Perspective.

When you are 'stuck' … a shift in role, or a shift in perspective, is often all you need to see a new path forward or a new possibility.

Have you ever been stuck playing a role that you knew didn't serve you?  Where you knew what the best next step was, from your perspective, but you had a sense that it wasn't the right action?  Sometimes it makes sense to step back and ask, "What role can I play that would get a better result?" 

That is often all it takes to change the game.  Other times, what it takes is the decision to play a new game.

There is a lot more, so hopefully you will watch the TEDx Talk.

Please contact me if you have questions or comments.   I'd love to hear from you.

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