Final Exam By Jim Stovall

I believe among the most valuable traits of any human being is the ability to honestly, objectively, and realistically assess themselves.

It is easy to look at friends, neighbors, and colleagues and judge their success in their personal or professional lives.

This ease in judging others comes from our tendency to look at everyone else’s actions and results while only viewing our own intentions.

We all start out with great intentions that can often become an excuse when we fail to perform.

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. For years in my corporate and arena speaking engagements, I have challenged my audiences by telling them that most people spend more time planning their three-day weekend than they spend planning what they are going to do for the rest of their lives. This accurate self-evaluation is extremely difficult.

We’ve all heard of anorexia which is a debilitating disease that can result in death. Anorexic patients literally starve themselves to death.

They can look in a mirror and see themselves as overweight, even though they are literally only skin and bones. For anorexic patients to be cured, it requires a sort of reprogramming in their perceptions and outlooks.

For you and I to assess our lives, we’ve got to undergo similar reprogramming. We can only judge our success and progress based on where we should be in our lives.

Comparing ourselves to others, or even comparing ourselves to where we used to be, will always lead us to a false conclusion.

The following questions may be helpful as you begin the process.

1. What do I stand for?
2. What are the things I most want to accomplish in my life?
3. Who are the people that are most significant to me?
4. Am I making a difference in the lives of those I most care about?
5. Am I on-track to reach my personal and professional goals?
6. Am I making a lasting difference in the world?
7. Am I enjoying the ride?

The answers to these questions can begin the exercise of looking into our own life mirror and judging what we see. No one else can do this but us, and no one else’s opinion really matters.

As you go through your day today, resolve to not judge anyone else nor allow them to judge you, but put your life on trial and control the verdict.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at or by visiting

-What did you think of the ideas shared in this article? Answering the questions posed in the article can be challenging, but doing so can serve you greatly. Is there anything you would like to add along the lines of what was shared in the article?