Book Of The Week: Near Death Lessons

Do you need a reason to keep going? 

Let me introduce you to Chris Jankulovski. 

Although I don’t know Chris personally, his book “Near Death Lessons” has lit a fire under me to keep going in the face of adversity and to thrive in life.

At 19, Chris Jankulovski was diagnosed with a hereditary condition called Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. VHL is a genetic mutation of the DNA strands that cause cysts and tumors to form in major organs like the brain, kidney, and spinal cord. This syndrome causes a lifetime of cysts and tumors that can sometimes be cancerous. At the time, Chris was given very little information but was told he may not live past 30.

Can you imagine being given a diagnosis like that before the age of 21? 

How would you cope with that? 

At first, Chris was in denial. But then he decided to live his life as fully as possible. For him, this meant traveling, drinking, being promiscuous, and adventurousness. 

He traveled the world and had as many new experiences as he could. 

Finding A Higher Purpose 

In 2005, Chris underwent a brain operation to remove a tumor at the edge of his brain underneath his skull. At this point, he decided to choose life and start living the life that he truly wanted. He started appreciating life for what it is and became clearer about his higher purpose.

He made a pledge that if he got another ten years of life, he would employ thousands. This was the first of two pledges that Chris made.

It’s incredible how he was faced with such a life-threatening situation, yet, he was thinking of others.

(Spoiler alert: he made good on that pledge.)

Chris faced many other adversities, such as kidney tumors, but never let any of them stop him. He continued to travel the world and build businesses.

He accepted his reality but focused on what he could control.

He has continued to thrive. 

We can all start living the life we want if we create intentions. For example, create a vision board full of images that get you thinking “what if“ thoughts. Then, with that vision board in mind, start scheduling time to take small steps toward those goals.

Be mindful of how you spend your time and energy.

Chris also mentions starting with the end in mind. He poses the question that if you had one year to live, what would be the most important things for you to accomplish?

Final Thoughts 

Obviously, the doctors were wrong about Chris’s life expectancy. He attributes this to his positive mindset and mindfulness. Chris has thrived as an entrepreneur, building several successful businesses, including 

He also married the love of his life and has two sons.

Even with my adversities, I found inspiration in Chris’s story. I can see how I have been living so small and not to my full potential. I can also see how that needs to change.

One of Chris’s pledges in the book is to inspire others. He can add me to that list! 

Thanks for reading! 

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