Senator John McCain’s life offers us lessons on living well and living with greatness. What are some of those lessons:
Lesson #1 – Know Thyself –
McCain knew himself. His years as a POW, while extremely difficult, also were years to reflect on his own life. The son and grandson of Navy admirals, John no doubt used much of that time in prison to understand himself – his core values and beliefs. He emerged from prison broken in many ways but also with an understanding of how he wished to live his life.
How can we make time each day to reflect on our lives – our past, our present, and the future: who we are and who we wish to become based upon our core values. This kind of reflection takes time, real time – but it’s so worth it. so build it into your life calendar.
Lesson #2 – Identify a Core Purpose –
John and his first wife were divorced, surely a great difficulty that no doubt left scars. But in his second marriage, it appears he came to understand the greatness of family life and that being a loving husband and father represented his core purpose in this life.
Do we who are married with children understand that our core purpose is not the work we do but the family we have? Be clear as to your core purpose and you will live your life with proper priorities. Profound joy comes when we understand our most important role.
Lesson #3 – Serve Others –
John’s POW injuries prevented him from continuing a naval career. And so he adapted his life to those circumstances and chose elective office as a way to serve others.
Find in your work a way to serve others. Service to others is the highest calling within the work we do – so learn how to do your work in service to others. In doing so you will transform your work and yourself for the greater good.
Lesson #4 – Identify Your Life Values –
Senator McCain was known as an independent thinker. He brought his personal values into his public life, even if they weren’t always consistent with political expediency.
What values do you wish to be known for? Identify them, reflect on them daily, and live them. They will be your legacy so consider them carefully and live them deeply.
Lesson #5 – Finish Well –
Senator McCain was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a year ago. He chose to invest his last year with those he loved and did not allow fear to dominate his life.
This life will end for all of us. Rather than avoiding the thought of our own passing, use its reality to motivate you to live each day with passion and purpose. And determine now to finish well when that time comes. Your loved ones will then have an enduring lesson of how to live their lives when that time comes.
Every life can teach us things – both good and bad – about how to live our own life. Become a student of other people’s lives and learn the lessons that will help you become a person who lives with intention and who lives with a goal of becoming all that you were made to be!