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Authentic and simple: a TED talk about finding life with purpose

I am a fan of TED talks. The more I watch, the more I realize there are some that grip me more than others. This talk, by Matthew O’Reilly, a Long Island, New York emergency medical technician (EMT), is captivating because of its authenticity and its simplicity. This talk shares what one person knows about life and death and gives insight into how we might find life with purpose.


The speaker has had numerous experiences with patients who are in their final moments of life. From the title of the talk “‘Am I Dying?’ The Honest Answer,” one might assume that the focus of O’Reilly’s message is his controversial choice to honestly tell patients the truth when asked “Am I going to die?”

Surprisingly, the real focus of this talk is O’Reilly’s unscientific but insightful summary of the three things people desire from life when death approaches: the desire for forgiveness, the hope that someone will remember them, and the belief that they have made impact on this world.

[ted id=2096]

As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, I work with individuals who may not be openly considering their mortality, but who are, nonetheless, striving to impact the latter two of these three desires proposed by O’Reilly. Many clients are working to create relationships that endure and are meaningful at work and at home. Similarly, I frequently help individuals gain clarity about the unique role they can play to make an impact within an organization, on a Board, or within their family or community.

If this TED talk raises your interest in the multitude of questions that can sprout from self-reflection related to this topic (What are my unique gifts? How do I want to be remembered? Will my efforts at work and at home make an impact?), contact me or take a look at Unstuck at Last: Using Your Strengths to Get What You Want.

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