If the thought of pursuing your passion terrifies you, remember this: One day, you’ll be dead.
It may seem strange that I have to be remind you of something like this, but it’s because I have to.
Why? Because deep down we like to think that we’re invincible and that we’re never going to die.
We like to think that death and illness is just something that happens to other people, not to us.
But training ourselves to think about death and to be aware of our own mortality has a way of creating real perspective and urgency in our lives.
Now, this may seem depressing, but it’s not. In fact, it’s invigorating because thinking about death doesn’t make life pointless, but rather purposeful.
We’ve all read stories of unhappy people, for example, who go through a near death experience and the very next day they turn their life around.
They start living life on their own terms and they start doing what they actually want to be doing.
Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you’re probably terrified of dying and don’t want to have to go through your own near death experience just so you can feel motivated enough to start chasing your dreams as well.
Fortunately, you don’t have to nearly die to experience the existential europhoria that comes along with knowing that you’re going to die someday.
Instead, you can constantly remind yourself about the shortness of life and inevitability of death by doing what modern day stoic Ryan Holiday says you should do in his book “The Obstacle Is The Way,” which is build memento mori (reminders of death) into your schedule.
This can include reading Seneca and other stoicism essays, spending time with hospice caretakers, visiting graveyards, reading obituaries or placing the memoirs of the recently deceased out in your living room.
Being reminded of people who are no longer alive and who did things with their life will make you want to get up in the morning and do something meaningful with yours. Thinking about death every day will make you want to live.
So, instead of denying your own mortality, embrace it because as Ryan Holiday says,
“When we forget just how short life really is, we begin to spend too much time obsessing over trivialities, or trying to become famous, make more money than we could ever spend in our lifetime, or make plans far off in the future. All of these are negated by death.”
Reminding ourselves every day that we will die will help us treat the time that we have here as a gift.
As Shakespeare said, as he was growing older, “Every third thought shall be my grave.”
So, try it out: start building memento mori into your schedule and see the results it has on your life.