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#STOP! To Live Each Day as if it were Your Last

Jim Collins, author of the business classic Good to Great, talks about the 20-10 assignment: “Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than [ten] years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?”[i] Collins goes on to describe how that assignment became a turning point in his life. Asking himself those two questions caused a shift in how he allocates his most precious resource: time. I encourage you to think about this 20-10 exercise as you read this book. Life is short, time is precious, and I have never heard of anyone making this deathbed proclamation: “I wish I would have spent more time at the office completing my to-do list.”

The book “STOP! 21 STOPs to Reduce Stress and Enhance Joy” describes 21 different behaviors to STOP doing that are intended to help you live your life focused on purpose, with joy and wellbeing. Here they are:

STOP Ignoring Your Health

STOP Eating Too Much

STOP Drinking Too Much

STOP Sitting Too Much

STOP Being Unconscious

STOP Claiming Your Baggage

STOP the Clutter

STOP Your Worst Habit

STOP Hindering Your Work

STOP Working on Low Priorities

STOP Setting Too Many Dumb Goals

STOP Your Smartphone Addiction

STOP Multitasking

STOP Talking Too Much

STOP Overloading Your Schedule

STOP Worrying

STOP Holding Back Your Life

STOP Spending Impulsively

STOP Buying Things of Little Value

STOP the Debt

STOP Spending Time with People Who Bring You Down

STOP and Smell the Roses with People You Love

STOP Devaluing Yourself

STOP Reading This Book and Get On with Your Life

Not all twenty-one STOPs will apply to you. There may be many other behaviors that you need to STOP in your life that are not covered in the book. These behaviors are taken from my life experience and yours may be different. Whether you STOP just a few of the twenty-one behaviors or most of them, my hope is that you will tap into new potential in your life.

Each one of us is uniquely gifted. I desire to live more in my giftedness and less in areas that do not require my uniqueness. If you want the same in your life, decide what you can STOP doing long enough to read this book. May it bring joy to your life and the lives of those you touch and we all touch so many other lives.

My favorite movie of all time is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, starring the legendary Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The awkward angel Clarence spoke a great truth when he said, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

My wish for you is that you will STOP any behavior that will prevent you from living a long, healthy, and wonderful life, living each day as if it were your last.

I welcome your feedback.

Joy to you!

Eric Parmenter

[i] Jim Collins, Good to Great (New York: HarperBusiness, 2001).

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