Bottom Line

Bill Abbate

How often do you stop to think about life? Not life in general, but your entire life?

If you are like many of us, you are probably thinking, “When would I find time to do something like that?” Do we really have so little time today that we can’t stop for a few minutes to think about the most important thing in our life — the actual life we are living?

Let’s take a few minutes to look inward to the things that, in the end, will matter most!

What is your bottom line?

Until something serious happens, most give little thought to their lives. Things like the death of a loved one, a breakup with a significant other, a job loss, and other noteworthy things can make you stop and wonder where you are and where you are going.

Putting aside these significant events, how much thought do you give to your life as a whole?

One of the most important questions you can ask yourself about your life is:

“What is the bottom line of my life?”

Those in business often think about the bottom line, yet how many apply this concept to their life? To determine your life’s bottom line, you must examine your past, present, and future. To fail to examine your life is a sure way to live a life of mediocrity.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” Plato (c. 428–c.348 BC)

What led me to ask this question was, as a businessman for more than 40 years, I began wondering if people have any commonalities in determining the bottom line for their lives.

Every life is composed of thoughts, feelings, what is said and done, and experiences. While you can speak different words, take different actions, and have different experiences, it all begins with your thoughts.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen (1864–1912)

Your thoughts make up your life. They make you who you are and determine the actions you take. Your actions and inactions lead to the experiences you have.

Why is it important?

Since life is finite, it helps to begin at the end. At the end of life, what matters most is who you became and the lives you impacted.

Go to the end of your life and think about who you became and your impact on others.


I became a retiree and filled my life with writing, coaching, mentoring, family, and friends. Does any of this matter to those closest to me? Yes, especially to my wife, who shares similar goals for her life, and to a few family members and close friends.

When I am gone from this earth, I leave memories in the lives I have touched. Since their lives consist of thoughts, what thoughts and memories do I want to leave with them?

For most of us, these thoughts and memories will one day disappear unless we somehow make a major impact on the world. The reality is few people make that kind of lasting impression.

However, to those who knew and loved us, who we were, and what we leave behind affects their lives and everyone they touch.

The effect you have can pass on through time for as long as people live on the earth. Your impact on one person can create a “butterfly effect,” rippling through life and time. It can move from one person to many, many others, then on through eternity for those who know there is life after death.

Who is responsible?

With the end in mind, it is time to consider who was responsible for you becoming who you became. As a mature adult, you accept that your life has become the sum of your choices. If you paid attention, you had control over the course you took through life.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

To some, this may sound harsh, but as a responsible adult, you have no one to blame if you are unhappy with where you are and who you became other than yourself. You are not a victim of the way you choose to live. Rather, you created your life. You did this through the thoughts that led you to make the choices and take the actions that took you to the end.

During life, you reap what you sow. At the end of life, everyone reaps what they have sown.

You should, therefore, wisely choose while you have time. You choose what you spend your time on. What you feed your mind. Who you’re with and where you go. It is not possible to overstate the importance of your choices.

Your very life itself was because of the choice of two people. Whether conscious or unconscious is another matter, but it was a choice to act, resulting in your creation. Your life. My life. Everyone’s life happens the same way.

Become the creative force in your life

As already stated, you created where you are and where you wind up through your choices, effort, actions, and inactions.

Yes, you are the creator of your life!

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions…” Stephen Covey (1932–2012)

Fully realize you are the major creative force for the remainder of your life. Take control of your life rather than allowing other things and people to control you.

I have a list of items from my journal that I attribute to the making of my life. The list is not comprehensive, and I’m sure you can add some items of your own, but this list will get you started.

Here are some notes taken directly from my journal. I recommend you use these and create your own list. Spend some time thinking about each item.

The results of my life are from:

  • What I do, not just what I know.
  • Who I am and who I’m becoming.
  • What I feed with time, attention, and resources.
  • Living intentionally and creatively rather than reactively and responsively.
  • Clarifying my values, which affect my priorities.
  • Getting unstuck from the old, familiar ways.
  • Getting rid of self-imposed limitations and self-limiting beliefs while embracing self-energizing and self-empowering beliefs.
  • The time and attention I give to what will make a difference, to what really matters.
  • The risks I take.
  • Moving from self-protection to self-actualization.
  • Embracing my fears rather than allowing them to embrace me.
  • Encouraging the best in others.
  • Enriching my life and the lives of those around me.
  • Exploring more perspectives.
  • Seeing more possibilities.
  • Appreciation and thanksgiving.
  • Expanding my life.
  • My active pursuit and development of a growth mindset.
  • Making a conscious effort to increase the significance of my life.
  • My relationships, which are life itself.

After making your list, why not find someone you trust and ask them to make their own list to the question:

“What do I attribute to making my life?”

Once you have your lists, discuss each item and what it means. Each of you will become seriously empowered by doing so!

Final thoughts

Remember, the results of your life are from your thoughts, from which choices and actions come. As you take control of your life, you become the creator, stopping outside forces from controlling you and your life.

If you choose to allow life to happen to you, you lose. If you take control of your life and create the life you want, you win. It’s as simple as that!

Take control of the reins and guide your life in a better direction. That is the bottom line!

“The bottom line is to be in control of your own destiny.” James Woods (1947-present)

I challenge you to create the you that produces the extraordinary life you and your loved ones deserve!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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