What Will Matter – by Michael Josephson

I love to teach. I live to teach. I need to teach. So, in an effort to create a new platform for my teachings I recently created this new website called WhatWillMatter.com. I hope you’ll visit and subscribe and stay regularly engaged in the search for what matters.

The name of the website or blog comes from the title of a poem I wrote in 2003. This poem sums up my core philosophy.

WHAT WILL MATTER by Michael Josephson (c) 2003

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,

or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

You can download a copy of the poem suitable for framing from http://charactercounts.org/pdf/whatwillmatter-1203.pdf or view a slide show of the poem at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Lm_U9yEP0

If you like this poem you may also like a wonderful poem called The Dash by Linda Ellis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsY6UrFIsNs

Comments 13

    1. Thank you Kieran. The same happened to me. I made a note … and then only (re)discovered it a year later, on reading my reflections from that wonderful Paul Merson commentary on his addictions. It’s a beautiful, honest, warm recital.

  1. Just listened to Paul Merson recite this poem “What Will Matter” on his walk through Yorkshire and was deeply moved. Never heard the poem or of the poet , how can I get a copy of this? I would love to give to my kids as something to reflect on as they go through live.

  2. Thank you Michael for this poem- I have only just become aware of it through the Paul Merson BBC documentary “ A walk through my life.
    My sentiments on life exactly

  3. A woman I know who I share my inner negative feelings with said, “Dave go on line and search for What will Matter by Michael Josephson as you are that person in The Poem” … I have never been so uplifted and genuineiy complimented in all my life … Thank You Angela Xxx.

  4. Oh my Lord to think about fhat.How amazing and how true! Brings you down to earth and very certain without a doubt.

  5. I love this poem. I heard Paul Merson recite it on the BBC. I have asked my wife to read it out at my funeral. Hopefully, this will be in many years from now!

  6. This poem was shared by one of my learners doing a course on Mental Health. This poem reminds me of how short life is and what matters in life. The people that we come across in life are the inspirational ones and I can certainly say this of my learner. Thank you for sharing- You know who you are!

  7. This poem means a lot to me. After burring a grandmother yesterday Wilson Nkosi on Radio Metro recited this poem and I listened carefully to what it says. It true that “What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.” I am going to frame this poem to read daily. Thank you Josephson.

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