Start With Your Obituary

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish gentleman who lived from 1833 to 1896. He amassed a fortune as the inventor and mass producer of explosives, including dynamite. His story might have ended there except for a premature obituary. When Alfred Nobel’s brother passed away, the press mistakenly ran an obituary on Alfred Nobel. Among other things, this obituary stated Alfred Nobel was “a man who had made it possible to kill more people, more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.”

Alfred Nobel had the advantage of previewing his own obituary, and he knew he didn’t like it, and he didn’t want to be remembered that way. So, he took action. 

Relatively few people know of Alfred Nobel as the inventor of dynamite, but he will forever be known as the creator of the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel prizes for literature, economics, medicine, and the sciences. 

He changed his lasting legacy 180 degrees by simply becoming aware of his own obituary and rewriting it. You and I can join Alfred Nobel by becoming aware of the fact that we are daily writing our own obituaries, and if we don’t like the first draft, we can edit it before it goes to the final press.

We have a tendency to look at the world through a short-term lens. We consider today’s schedule, this week’s calendar, or this month’s expenses. If we want to be a high-impact, self-actualized, successful person through the long-term lens, we’ve got to begin writing our own obituary and creating our lasting legacy today. 

There are some people like Alfred Nobel whose legacy extends worldwide through the way they have impacted society. There are some individuals who impact only a handful of people, but their impact is felt at a core level. You can change the world and leave a powerful legacy either way.  Some people change the world while other people change the world changers.

There are teachers, pastors, coaches, bosses, and mentors whose names history will never record but whose legacies will endure as long as thoughts or discussions of greatness exist. Stake your territory, make your claim, and begin writing your own obituary now while you can still make a difference. 

As you go through your day today, join Alfred Nobel in rewriting your own obituary.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at; or on Facebook at

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