In 1888, a Swedish man living in France called Alfred, found his own name in the obituary notices of a French newspaper. He realized the newspaper had confused him with his older brother, Ludvig, who had just passed away.
And he thought, I now have the chance to read my own obituary! How many of us ever have a chance to do that? And here is what he read: Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead"). It went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before [through his invention of dynamite], died yesterday."
It struck him: “This is what they’re remembering me for?” He decided on that day to change the trajectory of his life. He set up an organization through which he gave funds to honor people who were fostering peace rather than killing. Thus giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the world.
He took his considerable wealth and fostered the cause of world peace. And that’s what we remember him for - rather than his invention of dynamite. Near the end of his life Nobel is quoted as saying, “I believe every man deserves a chance to change his obituary in mid-life.”
Today, you and I have that opportunity as well. Go therefore, and if necessary, change your obituary.