What does that mean, exactly? It means letting the knowledge of your imminent death empower you in the present. It means reminding yourself of the fleeting and fragile nature of life, letting that motivate you to suspend your fear and kick some ass. Here are some ways to do just that.
1. Consider what a successful life means to you.
And only to you. Not to your mom, your boss, or your best friend. Pause and take some time to understand what a life well-lived really looks like for you. What do you want to be, do, and have? See all seven continents? Create a family? Author a book? Invent something that leaves a lasting legacy? Give back in a big way? Gretchen Rubin says, "The days are long, but the years are short." This resonates for me… I can’t believe it’s already February. In 2017.
2. Change your mindset to achieve what's important to you.
Think: What do I need to change?
The old saying "energy flows where attention goes" is accurate. What needs your attention in order for you to achieve your goals? What do you need to do or think about differently? Most change begins with an open mind. If you don’t think you can travel for an extended period, write 50,000 words, or be an activist, then you can’t, and you won’t. What mindset shift do you most need to make?
Meet and research people who have achieved what you hope to. If it’s possible for others, it’s possible for you. Get around winners. That simple change can have a massive impact.
3. Contemplate how embarrassment weakens you.
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert series, says the most important quality successful people possess is "lack of fear of embarrassment." Is this stopping you from going for it? The fear of what people might think, say, or do? You can minimize this fear when you get real about it. To combat it…
4. Write a letter to yourself from your 90-year old self’s point of view.
Thank yourself for what you had the courage and bravery to achieve. Start each sentence with, "I am so thankful that…" What are you most thankful for? I bet it won’t be, "I’m so happy that I played it safe and didn’t ruffle any feathers," or "I’m so happy that I just went with the crowd and bothered as few people as possible."
I bet you’ll be thanking yourself for the things that you know today matter to you.
5. Lose your excuses.
There is nothing like the power of perspective to make your excuses look like a joke. Too busy, tired, or scared to fulfill your ambitions? Come on! Excuses are more dangerous and frightening than almost anything else that can scare you—including death itself.
Living life with death in mind allows us to not sweat the small stuff. It spurs us to remember what matters and to get out of bed in the morning with more purpose and less anxiety. If you choose this perspective, a more meaningful, intentional life will be your reward. And what could be more valuable than that?
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Always wanted to pursue your own passion? Sign up for her Side Hustle Prep School. You can also sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday on Greatist for her latest No Regrets column!