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Why Remembering You’re Going to Die Will Wake You Up



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I lost it. I was at the cemetery yet again —reading the legacies of those who have left this experience. As I wandered around on a beautiful California morning, I’d come across a section where children lay to rest. Anywhere from a few days to a few years, I’d read their tombstones of the legacies they were able to create in a short time: joy, passion, love and wonder.

I wasn’t there to visit anyone in particular, I was there to wake up. Remembering we’re all going to die is a beautiful way to create clarity and make committed decisions now. I never see this as negative, I see it as an incredible opportunity to step into our greatness, instead of putting it off until next month, year or decade.

In this post, I’ll share 5 reasons as to why it’s important to do what you desire and create a life you can’t wait to wake up for:

1. On The Shortness Of Life

One of my favorite texts of all time comes from Seneca, a stoic philosopher who lived 2,000 years ago. And yet, this essay drives a crucial point home: we all have enough time, if we do it right. But often, we don’t. We put our dreams on hold to seek approval from others, we buy into the mentality of “someday” and end up living a life of regret and what could have beens.

We waste our time with mindless entertainment, gossip and caring way too much about what others think. We take the path others have told us is for us, but deep down we know the truth: it’s not.

So, how can you use your mortality to make bold decisions and live the life you’re called to right now? If you’re here, I know this isn’t you.

“Often a very old man has no other proof of his long life than his age.” – Seneca

2. Remember Your Mortality

The first step in harnessing the power of remembering we don’t have much time is simply to embrace our mortality. This simple shift in awareness is what 99% of people avoid: we know our time here is limited, but we rarely think about it.

Usually, this happens until someone around us experiences a crisis or death and wakes us up. Most people live in an illusion that death is very far off and likely won’t happen to them. But it’s not true. According to research by the United Nations, around 6,500 people die every day in the U.S. alone.

Instead of running from our mortality, face it head on and use it as leverage to ask bold questions:

  • What do you really want?
  • Who are you living for?
  • Are you living the life you’re meant for?

As Steve Jobs famously said in his riveting Stanford commencement speech in 2005: “remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” Every day, take a moment to remember your time here is limited and you have a precious gift. Close your eyes, express gratitude and ensure you set the intention to truly live.

3. Use Reverse Visualization

One of my favorite techniques I use on myself and countless clients or listeners of the podcast is simple: reverse visualization.

We’ve all heard of visualization for success, and it’s a key practice to shift our awareness and gain clarity. But reverse visualization is strategically used to make bold decisions now by leveraging the possibility of regret.

Because most people are slow to make decisions, they miss out on the opportunity cost of a life they can’t imagine. They end up stuck in life, and justify it by saying: “I’ll get around to it next year. When life gets a little less hectic, I’m all in. Someday I’ll launch my own business.”

These are all lies designed to let you and I off the hook from making a committed decision from a place of power.

Pick an area of your life that isn’t working for you and ask a simple question: What does it feel like to wake up in 18 or 36 months when nothing has changed, except your circumstances are much, much worse? Dig deep into that reality —and the ripple effect it causes on every area of your life.

“I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.” – Jim Carrey

4. Spend Time With Older People

One of my favorite practices for remembering my own mortality is to have conversations with people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Undoubtedly, they have the deep wisdom of experience, and have shifted my life countless times.

When I was 24 and on the path to become a financial broker, a 64 year old man looked me in the eye and told me to follow my heart. I could see and feel the regret in this eyes. He had spent his entire life chasing something he didn’t want.

Bronnie Ware was a caretaker for those with little to no time to live, and would have conversations about their biggest regret. She ultimately created a book and platform out of it, compiling the most common themes. Number one was:“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

So, ask yourself: are you on a path designed by others —or one of your choosing? Regardless of the success you create, you’ll feel empty if it’s not truly yours.

5. It’s Your Time

Remembering we’re not here for long is a brilliant way to focus on what matters and release the noise. It’s about living a life on your terms, and not following a path simply because someone said you should. With this reminder in hand, it’s time to go out and make sure you’re living out loud, and never look back with regret.

How do you make sure you’re taking advantage of every single day you’re alive? Let us know how you express gratitude!

Hey, I’m Tommy. I don’t have anything figured out, but I love the process. If any part of this story resonated with you, I’d deeply appreciate a recommend and a share. For more insights, lessons and action steps to create the life you’ve been dreaming of, listen to the Resist Average Academy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Web.



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How to Combine Stoic and Minimalist Principles for Optimal Living

By embracing Stoicism’s wisdom and Minimalism’s clarity, we can create a life that is truly meaningful



Image Credit: Midjourney

In our fast-paced, the principles of Stoicism and Minimalism have emerged as beacons of clarity and wisdom. These philosophies, while distinct in their approaches, share a common goal: to simplify our lives and cultivate a sense of purpose and contentment.

In this article, we will explore the great impact of Stoicism and Minimalism on our lives and the transformative benefits of incorporating them into our daily lives.

The Essence of Stoicism

Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium around 300 BCE. It teaches us to focus on what we can control and accept what we cannot. At its core, Stoicism is about cultivating resilience, wisdom, and inner peace in the face of life’s challenges.

Emotional Resilience

Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge and regulate our emotions. By practicing emotional detachment and rational thinking, we can better navigate the ups and downs of life. When we understand that external events are beyond our control, we learn to channel our energy into mastering our reactions.

Living in the Present

Stoicism encourages us to live in the present moment. By letting go of regrets about the past and anxieties about the future, we find contentment in the here and now. This mindfulness fosters a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures of life.

Freedom through Simplicity

Stoicism’s emphasis on minimalism is evident in its approach to material possessions. By reducing our attachment to material things, we free ourselves from the burden of constant desire. This freedom allows us to focus on what truly matters: our character, virtues, and relationships.

“Stoicism teaches that we can’t control or rely on anything outside what Epictetus called our “reasoned choice” – our ability to use our reason to choose how we categorize, respond, and reorient ourselves to external events.” — Ryan Holiday

The Essence of Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle philosophy that gained popularity in recent years. It advocates for simplifying our lives by decluttering both physical possessions and mental distractions. Minimalism is not about deprivation but rather about focusing on what adds value and meaning to our lives.

Clarity and Purpose

Minimalism helps us cut through the noise of consumerism and endless distractions. By decluttering our physical and digital spaces, we create room for clarity and purpose. We can better identify what truly matters and allocate our time and energy accordingly.

Reduced Stress and Overwhelm

In a world filled with constant stimuli, minimalism offers a refuge from the overwhelming influx of information and material possessions. Simplifying our environment and commitments reduces stress and fosters a sense of calm and tranquility.

Financial Freedom

Minimalism often leads to more mindful spending. By prioritizing needs over wants, we can save money, pay off debt, and achieve financial freedom. This financial stability provides peace of mind and opens up opportunities for experiences that enrich our lives.

The Synergy of Stoicism and Minimalism

While Stoicism and Minimalism are distinct philosophies, they complement each other beautifully, creating a powerful synergy that can transform our lives.

Cultivating Resilience

Stoicism’s emphasis on emotional resilience helps us navigate the challenges of adopting a minimalist lifestyle. When we encounter resistance to letting go of possessions or simplifying our lives, Stoic principles can guide us through the process with patience and fortitude.

Prioritizing What Truly Matters

Together, these philosophies encourage us to prioritize what truly matters in life. We learn to let go of the unnecessary distractions and material possessions that weigh us down, allowing us to focus on relationships, personal growth, and experiences that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Finding Contentment

The goal of Stoicism and Minimalism is to find contentment and inner peace. By embracing these philosophies, we can escape the cycle of constant desire and comparison that often leads to discontentment. Instead, we find contentment in the present moment and in the simplicity of our lives.

Practical Steps to Embrace Stoicism and Minimalism

  1. Start with Self-Awareness: Reflect on your values and priorities. What truly matters to you? What possessions or distractions no longer align with these values?
  2. Declutter Mindfully: Begin by decluttering your physical space. Donate, sell, or recycle items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy. Gradually extend this process to your digital life and commitments.
  3. Practice Stoic Principles: Study Stoic philosophy and incorporate its principles into your daily life. Learn to differentiate between what’s within your control and what isn’t. Practice emotional resilience and mindfulness.
  4. Set Minimalist Goals: Set specific minimalist goals, such as reducing your wardrobe or cutting back on digital screen time. Start small and gradually expand your minimalist practices.
  5. Seek Support: Join minimalist or Stoic communities, both online and offline, to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and support on your journey.

The impact of Stoicism and Minimalism on our lives cannot be overstated. These philosophies guide us toward emotional resilience, simplicity, and contentment in an increasingly complex world. By embracing Stoicism’s wisdom and Minimalism’s clarity, we can create a life that is truly meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling.

Remember that the journey toward a more Stoic and minimalist existence is a lifelong one, filled with growth and self-discovery, but the rewards are boundless—a life rich in meaning, wisdom, and inner peace.

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