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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.

Life

How Your Psychological Blind Spots Keep You Stuck in Life

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Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Here’s the funny thing. We will say that line about someone else, have a good chuckle, and then DO THE SAME THING OURSELVES! This time, it’s not that funny, is it? I know. I’ve done it myself. (more…)

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3 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Live an Optimized Life

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The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships. (more…)

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These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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