Michael Jackson’s Lesson for You

30 06 2009

Today I want to share a very powerful e-mail I received, it made me think about my legacy and I hope it helps you too. Please tell me what you think of it.


Where were you last week when you got the news about
Michael Jackson’s passing?


I was listening to the radio while driving through
rural Pennsylvania on Route 22 to Shartlesville.

I was on my way to a friend’s farm for a relaxing
three-day weekend with Laura and the kids.

It’s strange, isn’t it, that we never forget where
we were when we first heard shocking news. People
will often ask “Where were you when JFK was shot?” Or “Where
were you when the planes hit?”

Death has a way of slapping us across the face and
waking us up in a way we never forget.

When you hear the name “Michael Jackson,” you probably
have two different thoughts: “Incredible performer”
and “Very strange person.”

For better or worse, that is the legacy he left.

Personally, I tend to dwell more on the legacy of
memorable songs, videos, and dance numbers that he
left behind. Those are the things I continue to enjoy.

I really wish I’d had the chance to see him perform
live when he was at his peak.

How about you? What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Lately, I’ve been asking myself that question more and

I was thinking about all the things I’ve failed to do
as a father. But then on Father’s Day, my 16-year-old
son gave me a truly priceless gift: a three-page letter
expressing his love and gratitude for me.

Things I thought I’d failed to teach him he’d somehow
learned by observation.

But I still have a big list of unfinished business
personally and professionally that I’m starting to
tend to.

The Jackson story reminds me that the legacy we leave
is a combination of both what we do and how we live our

Everybody’s talking about Jackson, Farrah, Ed McMahon
and Billy Mays.

But very few people are thinking seriously about the
legacy they will leave.

And even fewer are writing down goals and taking
deliberate actions to achieve that end.

As a musician, Michael Jackson was surprisingly
deliberate and proactive.

I learned the other day that while he was a member of
the Jackson 5 he told several close friends that he
wanted to break out on his own and become the biggest
entertainer of all time.

Some will call that ego. But I prefer to think of it
as simply an honest assessment of the gifts he’d been
given and a compelling vision for his life and what he
might be able to do with those gifts.

So he decided to anger his brothers and leave the
Jackson 5. He began working with Quincy Jones. And of
course the result was “Thriller,” the biggest-selling
album of all time!

As a singer, dancer, and songwriter, Jackson gave us
all an incredible gift worthy of the endless replays
that have been taking place on television and radio.

But here’s my question: What if he had never decided
to pursue his dream? What if he had never left the
Jackson 5?

What if he had listened to his family, friends, and
even all the well-intentioned logical voices that said,
“Don’t be so risky. Don’t be so selfish. Who are you
to think you can be phenomenally successful on your

What kind of legacy would he have left then?

We’d probably barely remember him.

More importantly, what kind of legacy will you leave if
you don’t take action to make your dreams come true?

As we hear about Farrah, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays, and
even those closer to us who have passed away recently,
we’re reminded that life is short.

Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Most people go to their
graves with their music still inside them.”

What is the thing you know deep down you should do, but
you’ve been too busy, lazy or scared to do?

Whatever it is, get started today.

It might be writing a new book, taking a trip, or doing
some kind of community service. It might be mentoring
someone, launching a new business, or healing a broken

Whatever it is, get started today.

It’s painfully obvious that tomorrow may be too late.

All the Best,

Steve Harrison
Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR)
& Million Dollar Author Club
Bradley Communications Corp.
390 Reed Road, First Floor
PO Box 360
Broomall PA 19008
484-477-4235 (Cust Svc Voice Mail)

Randy Pausch dies at 47

25 07 2008

Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of The Last Lecture passed away this morning. My prayers today go to his family and friends who in him have lost a great man, friend, son, brother, husband, father and most of all a great inspiration to us all.

I wrote a blog entry a few months back when I learned about the professor’s story who moved millions to listen to his message. You can read it here: On Facing Death.

I listened to his Last Lecture and it confirmed what I have believed for so long, life is more than material possesions, it is about making our dreams come true and holding on to what really matters in life; love, health, values, faith, hope.

Unlike Randy, many of us don’t have the minor idea of when our time will come but we know one day it will. I would really hate for that day to come and not have accomplished my goals and dreams. I realize that not all of them are meant to be but many of them are. We need to push harder, to work a little bit more, to tune in to our inner self more in order to find out how to do this.

The Last Lecture came about when at Carnegie Mellon University professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. I believe it is a brilliant idea to do something like this at any stage of our life, it will force us to stop and think where our life has been and where is going.

If you were asked to write your Last Lecture what would it say? I’m sure I will be thinking of composing mine very soon.

Thank you Randy Pausch, your life mattered and your memory, great teaching and example will inspire many for generations to come.

Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life

Life Reflexion on 9/11

11 09 2007

Today I’m sure is going to be a difficult day for many people, I’ll venture to say the whole nation but most of all for the immediate relatives of those lost on 9/11.

Tragedy is something that tends to unite us when we have drifted apart from each other. We live in a way in which we hardly ever take time to think about other people like we used to in the past when neighbors knew and help each other. If anything good came about this tragedy was a sense of oneness for the United States.

To me personally was a reminder that life is so short and that friendship is so valuable. I remember the story about this Christian man who worked with a handicap Jew, I’m not sure which floor they worked on but he wanted to carry him down the building. The Jew told him to save himself, they would never make it together. Then the other responded that he would remain with him there. They both called their families and said their good-byes and they face death together. That’s friendship. I doubt that the Christian man would ever made it anyway even if he tried to escape but he couldn’t live thinking that he left his friend behind.

Since I moved to the United States many things changed. I left my extended family and lifelong friends in Puerto Rico, with time a lot of my cousins have moved here but the big majority is still there. Those friendships can’t never be replaced or reproduced. I stay in touch with my best friend who is like a sister to me and every time I visit the island we get together, it’s like old times. We know each other perfectly and most of all love each other unconditionally. I can’t imagine losing her. So today I’ll pray for all those left behind who have to endure the loss of a loved one and for those who soon will lose them to accidents or sickness. Let us embrace each other and support our communities at large. Let’s do something today to help someone in need, maybe a simple call to someone you know is alone it will mean a lot to them.

Pavarotti – A Gift Giving Soul

6 09 2007

Today we lost one of the most talented voices in the world. Luciano Pavarotti always was one of my favorite tenors of our time. He was the perfect example of what using God’s gifts means. Something for us to reflect as we remember the life of such gifted artist. For years I delighted myself by listening to his distinctive voice. He managed to bring classical music to all millions of people or different generations. His charism attracted all those who appreciate music at any level.

I pray that his life serves as an inspiration to many who like him responds to God’s calling in his vocation of singing for others. May we realize that whatever our gifts are we are to do with them the best we can.

“Descansa en paz Luciano, que Dios te tenga en su gloria”