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My Challenge To You: Your Life In Six Words-Up for It?

If you get value from Wrestling Possums, then I ask you to do me one favor: reply to this post. Inundate me with responses. What I want you to do though is a bit freaky.  Be warned. It might confront you. I want you to imagine that you will die in ten minutes time. Here’s why.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a book, but only in six words. He did it. “For sale: baby shoes; never worn.” That’s the power of storytelling. This apparently led a couple of guys who founded Smith Magazine to develop the ‘Six Word Memoir’ concept…writing your memoirs in just six words.

So, imagine you’ll expire (sorry about that) in 10 minutes time.  You pick up a pen to write your life story, your memoirs. But you only have six words to do it in. Give it a go. If you feel inclined, respond on the link at the end and share it. I’ll tell you mine. You tell me yours. Deal? Here’s mine.

Rough diamond. Made a positive difference.

Or maybe:

Scared. Loved. Laughed. Infuriated. Inspired. Contributed.

I mean, that’s my view of who I am and what my life has been. I guess that’s what I’d like my obituary to read. But for me it is also my memoir. It’s my story in my mind about what my life has been all about.

I read a great one recently, in the obituary of Nora Ephron, journalist, novelist, screenwriter… think Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Silkwood). Asked to write her autobiography in six words, her response was: “Secret to life: marry an Italian.” I love that!

My Challenge To You

Turn your computer off. Close the door. Think quietly. Doodle some words…maybe make a long list of words that describe who you are, what you have done, what you’ve brought, what your life has been. Then shape your memoir, in six words. And send it to me.

Maybe it will excite and comfort you. Perhaps it will be a little confronting and eye opening. It might even push you to change your path, so you could write a different memoir when your life does end. Give it a go. I just did, and I learnt a lot. And it gave me some peace.

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111 Responses to My Challenge To You: Your Life In Six Words-Up for It?

  1. Dennis September 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    I learned humility the hard way.

    • Kieran November 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Life motto. No guts, no glory.

      • Chris Savage November 24, 2014 at 8:57 am #

        Thanks Kieran!! Chris

    • Jenet Depke November 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

      ethical, loving, compassionate, humanitarian, pure intentions

    • shannon pierce July 26, 2016 at 11:58 am #

      Sought wisdom and fought good fights.

  2. Adam Schilling September 26, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Laughed and got on with it.

    • Jason August 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Strived for excellence, hope it worked.

  3. Duncan September 26, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Leave the world a better place.

  4. Shalini Gonsalves September 26, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    They weren’t wrinkles. They were laugh-lines.

  5. Martin Palin September 26, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Atheist beats doubts to make good

  6. leisa September 26, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    always awkward but never really minded

  7. Geoff September 26, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Success without failing first, is luck.
    or
    Procrastination doesn’t make problems go away.

  8. Susan Andrews September 26, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Delighted in the road less travelled.

  9. Corrie September 26, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    The universe has answers, just ask

  10. Steph September 26, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    So much seen. So much unseen.

  11. David Appleton September 26, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Inspired many to do the impossible

  12. Alex Kenning September 26, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Didn’t stand still. Always had fun

  13. Susan Fine September 26, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Try many new things.Challenge yourself

    Out of your comfort zone, always

  14. Jacqui Cotterill September 26, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Authentic Contributor. Created, changed, loved, inspired.

  15. Kirsty September 26, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Lived a life too ordinary

  16. MC Hammer September 26, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Lucky guy,played fair,done good.

  17. Paul September 26, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Invisible then loved: purpose, fulfillment, happiness.

  18. Paul September 26, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Imagination beats knowledge, action conquers dreams.

  19. Paul Yole September 26, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Did OK but never grew up

  20. Paul September 26, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    If behind think ahead and engage.

  21. Carl Sherriff September 26, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Good Dad. Good Creative. Humbled Rogue.

  22. Paul September 26, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Memory suficates creativity: imaginatiom delivers possibilities.

  23. Ryan September 26, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Trust God. Live, learn & act.

  24. Carolina September 26, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Risks were worth taking. Forever alive.

  25. Hannah Savage September 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Loved lots, feels deeply, falls hard

  26. jo September 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    she never missed a chance to laugh.

  27. Cameron Wall September 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    What’s Past. What’s Now. What’s Next.

  28. Steve Wallwork September 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Still a country boy at heart.

  29. Marcus September 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Hyper start. Slow down. Pressure up.

  30. Susan September 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Happy, Grateful, Loving, Competitive, Nasty(but only a little bit), Gullible

  31. Gary September 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Laughed, lived, lost, never stopped exploring

  32. MK September 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Tried every thing once. Then again.

    Or,

    Worked hard. Played harder. Rinse. Repeat.

  33. Sue-Ellen Watts September 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Battled the dream. Lived the dream.

  34. Steve September 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Why? What if? Come with me.

  35. zendy September 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    left footsteps. made stories. loving father.

    by the way Chris, this is a very paradigm changing story you write. Thanks.

  36. miles September 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    it was always going to alright

  37. Ingrid Vickery September 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Lived and loved; tried everything once.

  38. Erin September 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Strived to fill glass half empty

    or

    Loved a chat. Didn’t die wondering.

  39. Rachel September 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Got knocked down. Got back up.

  40. Jaci September 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Laughed, Cried, Cared, Lived & Shared.

  41. Chris September 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    One noble soul wrestling with circumstance.

  42. Sam September 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Explored the world. Embraced life’s adventures

  43. Steve September 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    It’s great to grow up.

  44. Susan Redden Makatoa September 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Gave it a red hot go

  45. Aryeh Sternberg September 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Took a trip. Never came back.

  46. Jana September 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    mum friend lover – lived life full

  47. JOC September 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    uncovered many answers, discovered more questions

  48. Clair van Veen September 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Life is too short for mediocrity

  49. Marion McDonald September 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    First passport. Bye safety. Lookout world!

  50. Rudi September 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Potential. Realised? Time would have told.

    Wow, that was an uncomfortable exercise, but thanks Chris.

  51. Gordon September 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Rowed merrily…life is a dream.

  52. Craig September 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Big heart, said yes; found love!

  53. Kris September 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Learned there is always more learning

    or

    You want it make it happen!

  54. Johan September 27, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    Life without love is no life

  55. Stu Carson September 27, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Loved life. Remained true to himself.

  56. Neil Bolton September 27, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    That was a ride! Love y’all!

  57. pete shmigel September 27, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I was asked to speak to my alma mater today – St George Academy, a high school on the Lower East Side of New York City. I wanted to get across a message about values / moral compass and its relationship to personal success. So, it was tremendously timely to get your blog / 6 words technique which I duly applied with the high school kids. They really seemed to enjoy doing it. So, it’s with gratitude that I thank you for posting / your leadership.

    Your former colleague,

    Pete the Pirate

    • Chris Savage September 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Peter- very pleased to hear it was useful! Chris

  58. Seán September 27, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    no forgotton; not gone.

  59. Erin Copping September 27, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Running never changed anything, staying did.

    Or,

    Pursuing love was always worth it.

  60. Adrianne September 27, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Kept perspective and made it count.

  61. Peter September 27, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Be yourself, be happy, be challenged

  62. Carolina Briscoe September 27, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Life fulfilled. Friend. Lover. Explorer. Clown!

  63. Tony Spencer-Smith September 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Loved, wrote, looked, heard,smelt, felt.

  64. Claire September 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Irreverent introvert. Mum, mentor, magician!

  65. Mei September 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Walked around with rose coloured glasses

  66. Gautam Pant September 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Simply Never Gave Up,That’s It.

  67. Alex September 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    truly loved a few important people.

  68. Shona September 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Crazy enough to change the world

  69. Whitney Foard Small September 29, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    Laughed, knowing we still have tomorrow.

  70. Justin Di Lollo September 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Retire knowing you were your best.

  71. Masha September 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Cape Diem: seize the day

  72. Alegria October 1, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Fired my story; love leads now.

  73. David Smith October 2, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Aim high, stay grounded. Service. Family.

  74. Anne October 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Closed eyes, let go and jumped.

  75. Roy Phillips October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Worried too much what others thought.

    • Rosie October 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      I hear that!

  76. Rosie October 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    We are all the one community

  77. Peter October 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    never let anything grind you down

    or maybe:

    That was quick! – Take notes!

  78. Leonie Hill October 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Always felt loved. Am forever grateful.

  79. Mina October 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Guided by change, growth, love and intuition.

  80. Carla Vanner October 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    When ambition beats integrity, you lose.

  81. Kate Triggs October 6, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Feared regret, so did it all

  82. Claire October 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    The people were everything. Bursting love.

  83. Chris Tran October 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Immigrant son. Repatriated. Success in motherland.

  84. Joe October 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Simplied the complex, complicated the simple.

    • shannon pierce July 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      dito

  85. leisa October 14, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    or

    often liked to sing to herself

  86. Margaret October 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    Taking this as a core value statement moving forward:

    Love and question everything but regret.

  87. Margaret October 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Lived, learned, questioned, loved. Succeeded?

  88. Stevie October 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Kept going until they stopped me.

  89. Mike Bhasi January 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Explore Yesterday. Encouraged Today. Empowerment Tomorrow.

  90. Angela May 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Ran fast, played hard, loving it.

  91. Jim Roy July 10, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Stong man.
    Even stronger family man.

  92. Tony Crewdson August 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Policing with poetry. Living with integrity.

  93. Alice Chien September 11, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Helped people grow. Made magic happen.

  94. Marie Jean Hamilton September 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Help people Dream, Make them SMILE!

  95. Wally September 13, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Energetically inspired personal purpose, moved on.

  96. Jo September 25, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Fuelled by imagination. Always sought balance

  97. Jaqui November 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Great smile, learnt resilience, lived full-speed

  98. pete December 4, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    You are going home with me!

  99. Dave August 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Take it easy. But take it.

  100. Alan claire April 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    made mistakes, always learning, better person

  101. Maria November 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    always doubted but quietly achieved anyway

  102. Ben June 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Who am I to judge myself?

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  1. Brand You: How would you sum up your life in just 6 words?, Personal branding - December 12, 2013

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