Why Thinking About Death Gives Me Ease

Death

A few years ago, I watched John Mayer being interviewed by Oprah. He had hit the big time and bought a $140,000 sports car. And then he promptly returned it.

Oprah asked if it was buyers remorse. He said no. Instead, Mayer said he wanted to, “live life before the accident.” And that uber fast sports car felt like a potential death machine.

Mayer’s simple statement that day stuck with me.

To me it just screamed how important it is to live your life fully, in the now, aware of everything you have.

Bestselling author Wayne Dyer said the same thing using different words. He said in order to appreciate the beauty of your time here on earth you have to, “die while you are still alive”.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means letting your imminent death one day empower you in the present.

It means reminding yourself of the fleeting and fragile nature of life and letting that motivate you to suspend your fear and and well… kick-ass at anything you want!

Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Acknowledge what a successful life means to you.

And only to you. Not to your mom, dad, boss, or best friend. Pause and take some time to understand what a life well-lived really looks like for you.

What do you want to be, do, and have? See all seven continents? Create a family? Author a book? Invent something that leaves a lasting legacy? Give back in a big way? Gretchen Rubin says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

This resonates for me… I can’t believe it’s already almost April. In 2017.

2. Think: what needs to change?

The old saying “energy flows where attention goes” is accurate.

What needs your attention in order for you to achieve your goals?

What do you need to do or think about differently?

Most change begins with an open mind. If you don’t think you can travel for an extended period, write 50,000 words, or be an activist, then you can’t, and you won’t.

What mindset shift do you most need to make? 

Meet and research people who have achieved what you hope to. If it’s possible for others, it’s possible for you. Get around winners. That simple change can have a massive impact. This is a big reason I love reading biographies!

3. Contemplate how embarrassment weakens you.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert series, says the most important quality successful people possess is “lack of fear of embarrassment.”

Is this stopping you from going for it?

The fear of what people might think, say, or do? You can minimize this fear when you get real about it. To combat it, try this…

4. Write a letter to yourself from your 90-year old self’s point of view.

Thank yourself for what you had the courage and bravery to achieve. Start each sentence with, “I am so thankful that…” What are you most thankful for?

I bet it won’t be, “I’m so happy that I played it safe and didn’t ruffle any feathers,” or “I’m so happy that I just went with the crowd and bothered as few people as possible.”

I bet you’ll be thanking yourself for the things that you know today matter to you. 

5. Lose your excuses.

There is nothing like the power of perspective to make your excuses look like a joke!

Too busy, tired, or scared to fulfill your ambitions? Come on!!

Excuses are more dangerous and frightening than almost anything else that can scare you—including death itself.

Living life with death in mind allows us to not sweat the small stuff.

It spurs us to remember what matters and to get out of bed in the morning with more purpose and less anxiety. If you choose this perspective, a more meaningful, intentional life will be your reward.

And what could be more valuable than that?

How can your mortality motivate you to dream, think and act bigger?

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Death doesn't need to be scary.