When I joined a business networking group, we were taught to be able to give a summary of our business or product in the amount of time needed for an elevator ride—about 60 seconds. It was tough learning to be that succinct, and even now I want to use a few more words.
But what if you had to summarize your life in six words? James Emery White asked that question recently in his blog. I suspect that the 2008 summary would be drastically different than, say, the 2004 version. Economy, jobs, war, and weather have had their impact on us all.
In the best seller, Not Quite What I Was Planning, Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith compiled the quotes of famous and not-so-famous people on this very idea. Here are some examples:
“Liars, hysterectomy didn’t improve sex life!” (Joan Rivers)
“Well, I thought it was funny.” (Stephen Colbert)
“Maybe you had to be there.” (Roy Blount, Jr.)
“Revenge is living well, without you.” (Joyce Carol Oates)
“Followed yellow brick road. Disappointment ensued.”
“Should have risked asking, he sighed.”
Then there was the USA Today reporter who offered his own while reviewing the book: “Dad was Santa. Downhill from there.”
Okay, we’re all about to climb on board the 2009 elevator, and I wonder what a 6–word or 60–second summary of my life should say. If I’m not careful, it will be tinged with some regrets. “Should have taken that other job.” Or “wish I had gotten my doctorate.” Or “I should have played more sports.”
There are some I like much better, and they make for a healthier life. “He lived life full of enthusiasm.” Or “Not afraid to follow his dreams.”
Six words can say so little or so much. Depending on how seriously life is taken.