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Watch: Ricardo Semler - Radical wisdom for a company, a school, a life



This guy rocks!

I am in awe of Ricardo Semler.

This genius level innovator is definitely in the league with Steve Jobs, but definitely with more charm.  No offense to Mr. Jobs and his fans.
 
Have a mentioned that he is a Brazilian?  The race that makes me think of frolicking in sandy white beaches and tanned, washboard abs.

OK, enough of that.

From him I learned about “terminal days”. 
 
Here is an excerpt from his Ted talk:

On Mondays and Thursdays, I learn how to die.
I call them my terminal days. My wife Fernanda doesn't like the term, but a lot of people in my family died of melanoma cancer and my parents and grandparents had it. And I kept thinking, one day I could be sitting in front of a doctor who looks at my exams and says, "Ricardo, things don't look very good. You have six months or a year to live."


And you start thinking about what you would do with this time... You spend a good part of the time crying, probably. So I said, I'm going to do something else.
 
Every Monday and Thursday, I'm going use my terminal days. And I will do, during those days, whatever it is I was going to
do if I had received that piece of news.

On the perils of being busy:
When you think about the opposite of work, we, many times, think it's leisure. And you say, ah, I need some leisure time, and so forth. But the fact is that, leisure is a very busy thing. The opposite of work is idleness. But very few of us know what to
do with idleness. When you look at the way that we distribute our lives in general, you realize that in the periods in which we have a lot of money, we have very little time.
And then when we finally have time, we have neither the money nor the health.

On giving back:
And that brings us back to this graph and
this distribution of our life. I accumulated a lot of money when I think about it. When you think and you say, now is the time to give back -- well, if you're giving back, you took too much.  And my guy, who's my financial advisor in New York, he says,
look, you're a silly guy because you would have 4.1 times more money today if you had made money with money instead of sharing as you go.

But I like sharing as you go better.

On leaving a legacy:
I ended up, one day, at the Mount Auburn Cemetery... And I was walking around. It was my birthday and I was thinking. And the first time around, I saw these tombstones and these wonderful people who'd done great things and I thought, what do I want to be
remembered for? And I did another stroll around, and the second time, another question came to me, which did me better, which was, why do I want to be remembered at all? And that, I think, took me different places.

The importance of being free:
When I was 50, my wife Fernanda and I sat for
a whole afternoon, we had a big pit with fire, and I threw everything I had ever done into that fire. This is a book in 38 languages, hundreds and hundreds
of articles and DVDs, everything there was. And that did two things. One, it freed our five kids from following in our steps, our shadow -- They don't know what I do. Which is good. And I'm not going to take them somewhere and say, one day all of this will be yours. The five kids know nothing, which is
good.


And the second thing is, I freed myself from this anchor of past achievement or whatever. I'm free to start something new every time and to decide things from scratch in part of those
terminal days. 

On taking a break:
We've all learned how to go on Sunday night to email and work from home. But very few of us have learned how to go to the movies on Monday afternoon.

And the life's biggest question:
What we've done all of these years is very simple,
is use the little tool, which is ask three whys in a row. Because the first why you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don't really know why you're doing what you're doing.
What I want to leave you with is the seed and the thought that maybe if you do this, you will come to the question, what for? What am I doing this for? And hopefully, as a result of that, you'll have a much wiser future.

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