Book Club: Life on the Wire — Health, Legacy, and Making Good Decisions

Our lives teeter on a virtual tightrope. We are constantly making decisions in a number of tension areas to maintain a purposeful imbalance. These decisions ultimately affect the legacy we leave the world.

trophy representing legacy

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We have discussed a number of tension areas in previous posts. They are:

In this final week, we will be discussing the tensions associated with our health, our legacy and our decisions.

Week 4 Summary (Tension points 9–10, and The Summit)

Working Hard vs. Staying Healthy

Time with family, time exercising, and time resting has been replaced by a constant connection to work and information for many of us. Our fast pace in the name of progress has also resulted in declining relationships and health. In turn these declines keep us from achieving our biggest goals.

Maintaining a healthy tension between work and health doesn’t happen without an intentional effort. We need to correct bad habits to improve our relationships (including the one with our self) and then be laser-focused on changing our lifestyle in ways to be healthier.

Making Your Mark vs. Leaving a Legacy

We need to determine how much we strive to be successful versus leave a legacy. Todd Duncan defines legacy as:

”…a body of work that, when held up to the light of reality, gives the student guidance and inspiration. It is the connection between successful numbers and moral triumph — it is a record of all that makes us who we are.”

Legacy includes all of the things you do in your lifetime and why you do them. Set aside some time to review the reasons you are on the path you are on. Reignite the passions that put you on that path. This reminder to your heart and mind can make a big difference in your desire and approach for the work.

In order to leave a significant legacy, we need to find harmony between our money-earning work and the things that can provide a lasting impact.

Making Good Decisions vs. Managing Decisions Already Made

We need to make good decisions and then follow up with managing those decisions. Self-leadership and self-discipline are both critical to making that happen. Todd Duncan defines a dozen areas where we need to make and manage good decisions daily to be successful. He calls them the Dirty Dozen.

Start small and start now. By starting with small decisions and managing the resulting change, we avoid the temptation to procrastinate. We need to make our first decision to begin. We should enlist an accountability partner to ensure we are consistently improving and making progress toward our goals.

Aha Moments

Things I need to work on, things I want to try, and new ideas come to me as I read great books. The following are some random thoughts that came to mind as I read this section of the book:

  • Working hard is just busyness if it isn’t moving us forward in achieving our goals. Knowing where we are going in life is critical, but having the energy and creativity to get there is just as critical. We need to start pursuing better health as an important priority if we need to make a significant impact.
  • The tension between making your mark and leaving a legacy could be eliminated if we could earn a living in the same work we a pursuing to make a significant impact. This is a goal I need to put some thought into and pursue.

Self-leadership and self-discipline are both discussed throughout the book as needed to be successful. Accountability partners can also help keep you on track and have the added benefit of letting you know if the work-life balance is too far gone.


Now it’s your turn. Read tension points 9–10 and The Summit of Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life.

What did you learn as you read these chapters? Is there something you don’t agree with? What will you be applying new in your life based on what your learned? Share your thoughts in the comment section by clicking here

Next Week

If you want to get a head start for next month, the book we will be discussing is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

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