Have you read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom? I read it a number of years ago. It is a touching story that stays with me.
I thought about the book when I received an email from a public relations firm this week, looking to write a story about an entrepreneur for a major newspaper. The story and “The angle is far more about you personally than it about the company you run — so if you live unusually, or on the edge, then you’re the ideal candidate.” Exciting examples included climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, and being personal friends with and playing bridge with Bill Gates. It made me think about the The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Why?
Because the book is about Eddie, a maintenance man in an amusement park; a man who feels that his “Days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.” How often do we hear that at work and in life? But are they? The book has a number of life lessons. Eddie may not have climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven continents or played bridge with Bill Gates but his life had meaning.
Lesson 1: We all have different perspectives on things; and there is no such thing as a random act; we are all interconnected. We can certainly see this in any workplace. Reflect on how someone’s bad (or good) mood or comments impact everyone around them.
Lesson 2: Sacrifice, whether big or small, is not something to regret. We are only passing something on. What a nice way of changing something that seems like a negative (giving something up), to something that is positive (passing a “gift” on)!
Lesson 3: Forgiveness and letting go of things lets you live life to the fullest. Hate is like a poison that eats you from the inside out. You can say that again – life is lighter when we let in the love!
Lesson 4: There are many types of love. Life has to end, but love doesn’t. A lost love is still love. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows this! Love goes on in the memories we cherish.
Lesson 5: Life has a purpose. No matter what you do in life, you are here for a reason. You may not even realize what your actions have meant to others. If someone does something special, don’t hesitate – tell them – make their day – you might even make their life!
Like Eddie “maintenance” man, who impacted many people by his seemingly mundane activities, we are all important. Our words, our actions, and our behaviour, do impact others. We can make a positive difference in this world by the little things we do!
Read the book. The movie, while a shortened version, is pretty good too. Think about the lessons and how they can be applied not only to your personal life but also to the workplace. You don’t need to live life on the edge, climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, or play bridge with Bill Gates, to live a life of meaning.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive New Year,
Joanne Royce is the Founder of Royce & Associates, a Human Resources and Training Solutions company.
She is passionate about Creating Happy, Healthy and Productive Workplaces.
She continues to look for the good in people and in life.
Joanne originally published her review of the lessons and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, in the The Royce Formula Newsletter 2005.