People ask me how I stay very motivated.
Well, the honest answer is this – from time to time I will contemplate my own death. This may sound weird to you or even depressing – but it’s really not.
We live in a world where people are obsessed with petty problems, things that just won’t matter when we are at the end of our lives.
Contemplating your own death can give you an amazing perspective on life.
I used to think this was ‘weird’ that I did this, but then I read ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ by Ryan Holiday where he has a whole chapter on this topic. He described how it was a stoic way of appreciating life. He also referred to a book ‘Meditations – By Marcus Aurelius’ (which I highly recommend) where again, to think on ones own death was mentioned a lot to live your best life.
There’s a brilliant interview with Ryan Holiday and Gary Vaynerchuk where they both say how much they think about their own death as fuel for life. I’m the same in that regard.
Remembering that you only have one life, and someday it will be over, are you really living the life you want right now? I always ask myself this when i’m about to start a new project, venture or chapter in my life.
I’ve been ‘blessed’ in a way because I was a few days away from my death at the age of 27. I saw my death head on and thought that maybe this was my lot, my end. I remember feeling a moment of acceptance of my death.
With that awakening, I now use every moment I have to do what I believe in. I only do what I’m passionate about and I try to make the most out of life. If I’m not enjoying something or I’m not happy doing it, then i’ll change.
I don’t want you to have a near death experience like me to encourage this spark in you. But do me a favour and sit on your own for 15 mins (at least), and just think on your own death. Just sit alone and think on it. How many years may you have left in your life? Will it just feel like a long sleep that you never wake up from?
Ask yourself, ‘Is how I’m living my life right now the way I would want to be living it’?
If there’s a problem going on with your life, put that into context after you contemplate your mortality. It probably won’t matter.
Do this not in a depressing way, but in a way that wakes you up and makes you realise how lucky you are to be alive. Incredibly lucky.
Let that realisation become your compass and guide you to how you should live your precious life
21st August 2020
Christopher David Mitchell