We do a lot of strange things to stay motivated. Could meditating on our own mortality be the final push we need to get going?
Steve Jobs knew that time was of the essence. In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, he gave the graduates a somber reality check: “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. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
He posed a tough question,
If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?
Jobs continued: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
We might not be able to take on each day like it truly was our last—or else we’d all quit our jobs and go skydiving. But keeping the big-picture perspective in the little details could change everything in the long run.