Imagine you are a soldier who will be deployed to the battlefront of a war in one month. While you don’t assume you are going to die, you understand there’s a real chance it could happen. I want you to think about how you might go about your day differently…
How might you treat your family and loved ones?
How would you view the minor annoyances of spilling coffee on your shirt, breaking your phone, getting cut off in traffic, or dealing with an upset child?
How much time would you spend on your phone, computer, or watching tv? All of a sudden priorities change.
This is how I’m creating more urgency and getting a broader perspective— I’m thinking about death… But not in a morbid or depressing kind of way. It’s a reminder to treat each day as a gift. Sometimes we forget we don’t live forever.
A healthy reminder of having limited time helps keep what’s important or not important in its proper place. Understanding we have an end date prioritizes relationships, encourages being present in the moment, and creates urgency to utilize our time meaningfully.
Stephen Covey’s 2nd habit of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, “Begin with the end in mind.” You want to visualize the end so that you can live each day with purpose and clarity of who you are trying to be and what you are trying to accomplish. Think about what you want people to say about you at your visitation. The ancient Stoics also mediated on mortality with something they called Memento Mori. This reflection helped inspire them to make their words and actions matter.
I hope you can see there is nothing wrong with thinking about death. In fact, there are some great benefits by reflecting on it. When you are on your deathbed ready to take your last breath you will think about two things: How’s my relationship with God? What’s my relationship with the people closest to me? Sometimes when we go about our routine we forget what’s most important. Use the reminder that our time on earth is scarce to inspire you to live life with urgency and meaning.