What I’m asking you to do is to spend more time considering how finite your existence is. Memento mori – remember you are mortal. This isn’t a lesson in depression, quite the opposite. I’m asking you to remember that the only certainty in life is death, we all start out the same and we all end up the same. We all have a bullet with our name on it and we don’t know when it’s coming for us. Consider this for a second before reading on.
I have found 3 clear benefits for this and hope, with some hand holding, you can find the same:
- Perspective: We all live in our own little world, in our own little bubble and with our own little problems. These problems can seem pretty large for us a lot of the time and can cause us to feel a lot of negative emotions. If we however take a second to consider our own life in the wider context of time we can see that we are a tiny, insignificant, pin prick in the history of our planet. Bearing this in mind is it really worth getting upset about someone not texting back or being a bit rude to you? Aren’t we better off using our brief time here to concern ourselves about bigger and better things?
- Presence: As this excellent post by Tim Urban demonstrates, whilst we may feel like we have plenty of opportunities for things, such as seeing family, the reality is that these opportunities are finite. If we can take one thing from this realisation it is to live in the moment and experience everything about that time as fully as possible. Rather than spending time with friends sat around staring into phone screens actually do something memorable, you don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to be together.
- Action: The biggest thing I take from this exercise in mortality is that if you have something you want to achieve then get on with it. So many of us waste time procrastinating, watching re-runs of old friends episodes or randomly scrolling through social media, is that what you want to look back on when your time is approaching? The fact that we live finite lives should focus our minds towards what is truly important, what we really value, and propel us towards these things. If you were uncomfortable reading the first point about how insignificant your life is then this is the moment to do something about it – make it as significant as you can.
Hopefully you can now see the power inherent in this exercise. Rather than being depressing it should be invigorating. The more you realise your days are numbered the more inspired you will be to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Whilst this is quite a deep exercise I hope you are not put off and give it some time and effort. Allow some time for thoughts of the end and see the difference it can make to the now.