John Potess

We're All Going to Die - and That's a Good Thing

Mortality allows you to experience a meaningful life

Life | Death | Fulfillment
December 6th, 2021

It can be easy to float through life avoiding our true potential to experience a fulfilling life - often either afraid of pursuing what we really care about or defaulting to the path of least resistance.

Mortality as a Tool for Self-Actualization

One of the most powerful tools to breaking out of this default cycle and living life experiencing the things we truly value is acknowledging ,and even more so embracing, our mortality.

So let's lay it out straight:

You’re going to die.

You will one day cease to exist on this earth, and regardless of your spiritual beliefs or lack of, life as you know it will end.

So you have one chance to live this life, to imbue it with as much meaning, and purpose as possible. This single, finite chance is what gives value to this precious little time you have.

Every choice you make - both big and small - can either align with your true values or it won't. Because of the finite choices we get to make, each of those choices are important because they bring you into or out of alignment with what you value.

Every action and every decision, whether consciously chosen and fought for or fallen into by default through inaction coalesces into a grand experience of your life.

I believe one of the main ways your mortality can help you live the life you want is by making you aware of, and giving you a tool to combat, INACTION in relation to what would fulfill you.

We often default into inaction is because it’s the path of least resistance - no change or external discomfort is needed, and no one around you is aware of what you truly wanted, so you don't experience any social pressure when you drift with the flow.

Inaction is what holds you back from breakthrough.

Whether that is pursuing your dream project, singing karaoke, choosing to invest in your relationship, or putting yourself into any other situation that takes effort and causes you discomfort but will help you to grow in the end.

So why do we choose to not live a life that is fulfilling? I think its from two primary reasons:

  1. Fear of pursuing - and failing - at what we truly care about
  2. Defaulting to the path of least resistance

Fear and the path of least resistance

Don’t let fear of failure steal your potential to live fully. Pursue your dreams.

This is an area I'm constantly working on, but something that's worked out pretty well for me is framing new situations or areas that I'm afraid to pursue in the context of my mortality.

When I'm scared to live a life that I find meaningful or putting off working on that passion project or venturing into a new area. I reframe it as "I'm going to die - like soon - so there's no point in wasting time if I actually care about this“.

I'm also not saying to jump unprepared into large endeavors or make risky long-term decisions (but then again who knows that might work too). What I’m trying to encourage is living a life that won’t lead to regrets at the end of your lifelong story.

Keeping the end in mind, keeps the present in perspective.

We live like we’re immortal, putting off our dreams for a later date vanishing into the future, for when we’re “ready” or when we have accomplished enough in (A), or are good enough at (B), or feel comfortable enough in (C).

Pursue your dreams as a mortal would, because you are one.

You don’t have all of eternity to eventually get around to living the life you want to live.

Your life is too precious to waste on the path of least resistance

Don't default into whatever easiest option there is if it doesn't align with what you value. Your life experience is too precious to waste on apathy.

The easiest, most comfortable option often isn’t the one that fulfills what it is we want in life. So be aware of if you’re comfortable, but bored and uninspired.

Comfort and security can often come at the expense of new experiences that help you grow - see Discomfort is a Compass for Your Best Life.

Deep down we all inherently know the end is coming, but it can be easy to live like we have forever to eventually get to the life we want to live in the future, living as if we were immortals.

But because we have a finite timeline, we have to make choices with how we're going to use the precious days we have.

It’s Never to Late to Pursue Your Dreams

If you’re feeling bummed out, or like you haven’t been living to your full potential - start from this moment.

Everything in the past is just that - in the past, and not your present - you get to choose how you move forward.

Choose to pursue the life that you want and see how this less-travelled, sometimes uncomfortable path makes you feel alive.

It takes courage to live according to your values, and to choose to be true to yourself.

Live courageously, and authentically and you will live a life meaningful to you.

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