Begin With The End in Mind: Living a Life True to Yourself

By Cesar Romero 

It all started when I stumbled upon Bronnie Ware’s article about the top regrets in life by those about to die.

Bronnie is a palliative worker who has worked with a countless number of patients who are seeing their last days on earth. When Bronnie had asked the patients about any regrets they had, or things they would have done differently, the most common regret was:

“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

This really hit home for me and it made me realize that life is all about the choices we make or don’t make. There really isn’t any script to live a fulfilled successful life but the one we make for ourselves.

We only get a short period of time between birth and death to do all the things we have always wanted to do; to experience, to grow, and to contribute based on our true selves.

When I turned 28 I asked myself, "What if this was the last year of my life? Would I have been happy with how I had lived it?"

The answer was a partial YES.

There are still several projects that I want to complete. Places I want to visit. Lives I want to impact. But everything began to change ever since I started embracing YES in my life.

Yes to meditation, yes to better habits, yes to traveling, yes to chocolate, yes to taking risks, yes to living life.

In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Steven Covey introduces the second habit, which is beginning each day with the end in mind. 

What if we apply this single habit to our own life? How different would life be?

Begin with the end in mind is all about self-discovery and clarifying what truly matters, not in the life of others, but your own life.

What experiences do I want to have?

What makes you come alive? 

How do I want to grow? 

How do I want to contribute?

The answers to these questions come from your deepest self and if you don’t know the answers it’s ok. This means you need to spend more time with yourself, experiment, and pay attention to the things that make you come alive.

Education, size of your bank account, job title, social status, successes, failures, don’t define who you are. These are only outcomes of our own actions. 

Nothing really matters in life except living a life true to who you are. So where does the path towards a meaningful life begin?

Our generation has been called many names: Google Millennials, spoiled, entitled, unmarried, narcissistic, lazy, etc. But since when did looking for meaningful work and fulfillment become synonyms of laziness and selfishness? 

It’s the total opposite.

What we want most is to live a fulfilled life doing meaningful work. This is not a sign of laziness or selfishness, but a sign that we have a burning desire to make a dent in the universe and live a life true to who we are. 

We want to find our own truth instead of following a predetermined script; a truth that can only come from our deepest self and once discovered, it would be a sin against ourselves and a dis-service to the world not to express it.

A life true to your deepest self is not found in books or in a predetermined way of thinking or acting. Common knowledge is not enough. We must test and experiment; we must keep what works, add our own, and discard the rest. That’s where magic happens.

A meaningful life begins when we decide to take ourselves seriously
and carefully examine our own actions.

A meaningful life begins when we start ecoming more vulnerable
and take action despite our sense of vulnerability.

A meaningful life begins when we start asking questions like: 
“Will this choice allow me to spend the greatest amount of time with relationships and activities that make me come alive?”

A meaningful life is all about service and impact.

Is it easy? Of course not. Is it worth it? Hell yeah!

I don’t know where this journey will end for you, or me, but I know it starts by living a life true to you. 

My question to you is this:

Are you willing to commit towards living a life true to yourself? Or will you let fears, doubts, and insecurities take you through the unfulfilled conventional path?

The choice is up to you!

Meet Cesar

After a 2-week trip to Kazakhstan in 2012, Cesar realized that most of the ideas people have about other parts of the world are not accurate and that in order to change the world, we need to understand it first. Cesar describes himself as a connector of ideas, people, and experiences. When he's not leading trips with U30X, you can find him writing his ideas down and sharing them with the world, honing his leadership and public speaking skills at Toastmasters, running a couple of miles to decompress, and spreading the traveler's mindset encouraging other people to travel and understand the world.

You can find more about him here:


This piece was originally published on Medium

Posted on May 9, 2015 .