Is considering your own mortality depressing or motivating?

Joshua Iwata
6 replies
Steve Jobs famously said in his 2005 commencement speech "... death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent." and "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life". I think about my remaining time a lot actually, so much so that I have a tattoo of a 'loading bar' on my wrist that represents 100 years, it's 1/3 full (I was 33 when I got it). I find considering my mortality extremely motivating but at time pretty sad. How do you deal with "Life's change agent" to stay motivated to make your dent in the universe?
Depressing
Motivating
Both

Replies

I don't feel depressing or motivating. Just peaceful and tranquil.
Frontend Developer
For me, it is very motivating. It is useful to remind ourselves at least from time to time that we might die tomorrow or even today. And the best way to deal with it is to live our best lives. All your mistakes and failures won't matter when you die, but opportunities you've missed, chances you didn't take, dreams you didn't follow will. There might not be tomorrow, so live today to the fullest and do the meaningful work that matters.
Product Designer
Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. One is accepting it rather than running away or fearing it, which can help us to make the most of our time-limited existence. šŸ’€šŸ‘ŠšŸ»šŸ’«
My mother died when I was five years old so I've been conscious of my mortality for 37 years now. I've always felt like my time is painfully limited. I don't know if "motivated" is always the right word for it though - often it's a feeling of anxiety that I'm wasting what little time I have. It can lead to spending too much time on activities that "feel" productive (programming etc..) when I should be spending more time on things like writing or designing work which can feel a lot more 'slack' in terms of my application of effort (this is often purely psychological - you can't be creative without giving your brain some space). I have to force myself to take breaks and holidays or I have a tendency to burn myself out. So yeah, mortality is motivating but it's also tangled up in emotions that aren't always helpful!
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@michael_forrest1 I can really relate to all of this. I lost both my dad as a young adult, so I think it wires you a bit different for the rest of your life. The awareness is always there.
Product Designer
You know, if you have a personal project, you'll work on it forever, sometimes procrastinating and it'll never ever be truly complete. Every project needs a deadline. Similarly, death is a deadline too.
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