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Everyone Dies … Not Everyone Lives

Everyone dies … not everyone lives

My 11 year old  son Ethan asked if I did understand the 3 Ls and when I asked what they are,  he said they are the most important lesson in life, and that if we implement them, it will make a huge difference to the kind of life we have. Obviously, I was intrigued. He told me the 3 Ls stand for:

  • LiveLive in the moment
  • LoveLove widely and inclusively
  • LearnLearn to forget

Fantastic words and so meaningful to us all.

Too often, we spend huge amounts of time travelling  back to our past and we don’t live there anymore.

We spend 80% of our time worrying about things that probably will never happen and only 20% living today.

We waste so much of our irreplaceable time wishing our lives into the future, when there is so much loving and living still available to us today.

So we should focus on the important things.

Here is a story I share in one of my workshop: (Original source unknown)

I remember standing in front in front of a group of students. I picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it to the top with golf balls. I asked the students if the jar was full. They all agreed that it was. So, I then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. I shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. I then asked again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. Then I picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. I asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.” Then I got two cans of Guinness from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students thought that was funny and agreed now the jar was truly full.



“Now”,  I said, “I want you to recognise that this full jar represents all of your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions – things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your car, material things.

The sand is everything else – the small stuff.

Now if you put the sand into the jar first there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Look after your health. Work hard at your relationship. There will always be time to clean the house,  fix the rubbish, or buy other stuff.

If you want a great life take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand”.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Guinness represented to me. I said. “I’m glad you asked. It’s the Irish in me. It just goes to show you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cans of Guinness“.

There are many ways to make sure your big rocks stay front and center. One popular method is to separate the things that are on your mind into:
  • Not urgent and not important – Bin them 
  • Urgent, but not important – Bin them
  • Important, but not urgent – Do them tomorrow
  • Urgent and important – Do them today

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain

In answer to my sons question I suggested the 3Ls plus 1 are:

Ethan’s 1st L – LIVE fully by staying in the now

The only thing in life we are that is guaranteed is now.

When I coach leaders in Sports, Politics or Business, I remind them often to live in the present.

Research has shown us clearly that the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment as wisely as we can.

Living in the present moment means you bin the past and you stop fearing what will happen in the future. It means enjoying what’s happening now and living for today. Choosing to live in the past or the future not only robs you of enjoyment today, but it also robs you of truly living. The only important moment is the present moment.

Ethan’s 2nd L – LOVE and hug yourself more

The love I ask for is the absence of any judgement.

We are all walking each other through life to a final destination. Unconditional love starts with YOU because if you don’t love yourself how can you possibly start loving other people. You cannot love another person, or feel worthy of receiving their love, if you don’t love yourself.  As a society, our love is often the kind that says “I will only love you if…”  How could this be true love? If we put conditions on our love, then it is not really love.

Cultivate love by hugging yourself more, which will allow the real you to shine through to others.

When we enter relationships with other people, we are entering relationships with a person full of quirks, idiosyncrasies, flaws and challenges. Too often, we note their flaws, yet judge our own quirks idiosyncrasies, flaws and challenges positively. One of the great things about this life is learning to lean into the tension of those challenges in relationships, by offering ourselves freely and openly with authentic connection, love and understanding; and – very important – by accepting the influence of others, allowing compromises and moving forward in a way makes the relationship stronger and the connection with others even greater.

Ethan’s 3rd L – LEARN to forget what’s in the backpack

Bin the past baggage. Dump that rucksack you carry of past fears and regrets

We carry so much baggage –  things that have happened, words that have been said. We’ve all been hurt at some time or other. There isn’t an adult — or teen — alive today who hasn’t experienced some kind of emotional pain. It hurts and I get that. However, if your mind focuses on the negative things that have happened in the past, your life will move in a negative direction. Your life moves in the direction of your dominant thoughts.

So, whatever you set your mind on and focus on dictates the life and emotions that will follow.

If you asked anyone who has passed from this life if they would prefer to get back to actively living life to the full or ruminate endlessly about the past and something that cannot be changed, I bet I would know the answer.

One of the things that kills us emotionally and mentally is the spirit of unforgiveness and our unwillingness to let go. Holding a grudge against someone is like eating a poison and expecting someone else to die.

My own additional L – HaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Sometimes I laugh so much tears run down my chest.

It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. You must laugh as much as you breathe and love as much as you live.

Positivity is like a virus, the more you spread it the more it spreads.

Final Thought

Before you die, remember these three questions, because if you do not action them today, you will regret not living them on that final day. Always remember it’s the golf balls that are important, and sometimes children ask difficult ‘why’ questions that must be answered.

My 3 Questions For You

  1. Do you known what you want out of life?
  2. Can you visualise in your subconscious and conscious mind, your intended destination in life?
  3. Do you know how to motivate yourself and propel yourself in that direction?

If you want to know more, or help with the answers to these questions, do send me a message at or tweet me @thebeaksquawks

About Dr Maurice Duffy

Irish. Author, Professor, Coach and Business strategist. The person Australian Captain Steve Smith credited with helping him back from his cricket ban. Coach to two Ashes wins. Coach to CEOs, Politicians and some of the best know international sports starts including Olympians. BBC ‘Thought for the Week’. Coached business leaders and organizations in 80 countries. Works with charities to do with Mental Health. Lives in North East England with his wife and 11-year-old son.