Embracing The Concept Of Mortality As a Tool in Achieving Personal Growth

Using the concept of mortality as a purely intellectual tool in achieving personal growth is something that is rare to be found in many books out there. It is a concept that pushes personal growth far above expectations and, truth be told, dramatically changes the game.

Outlining that we are all going to die, gradually makes us aware of the importance of things, or moreover the lack of it. Being naked in front of this realization we start perceiving things rather differently. The fear of failure, things that bug us on daily basis, people we interact with, problems we give too much attention to, they all fade away in front of this concept of mortality should we decide to embrace it.

personal growth

You can make decisions easily

Reminiscing in retrospect, you will come to realize that a bigger part of our lives is spent on doing things we are not quite fond of. This applies to choosing the people we interact with, choosing our job, deciding to settle for something besides the apparent dream we have that dictates otherwise.

And looking back, you will notice that nine out of ten times we submissively comply. We decide things based on fear from the unknown, by relying on certainty and conformity more than anything else. We decide as to avoid or minimize the chance of failure, escape the embarrassment.

And here is where the intellectual concept of mortality dramatically helps. Understanding that we may lose everything, we start worrying more about the things that matter. We don’t settle for whatever, in short.

The fear is minimized

We all fear failure, embarrassment, regret. However, the fear of death washes away such trivial fears. It reminds us of the fact that our time is limited, and we shouldn’t waste it by being afraid.

Realizing and embracing the concept of mortality makes us all aware that we should live our live driven by our intrinsic need for happiness, not settling for whatever comes down the road. Fear makes us “play safe” in many of an occasion. Washing it away we are actually opening ourselves for the things we are most passionate about, not making compromises even a bit.

How to apply the concept of mortality in personal growth

  1. Realizing what is not worth our attention

    Some time ago I stumbled across an article with an interesting idea. It was written by Srinivas Rao, personal improvement blogger and entrepreneur and overall a nice guy. The article was about realizing which are the things that are not really important but we stress over them nonetheless. It was presented in an interesting fashion, titled “7 things that won’t be mentioned in your eulogy”.

    And here is the thing; reading about it, all of the sudden we are getting a picture of how unimportant some things really are. Realizing that we pay too much attention to trivial matters, we understand which are the things worth pursuing.

  2. Asking ourselves a simple question

    Steve Jobs followed a simple concept of embracing mortality and by doing so developed a new level of personal growth. Every morning, right after getting up he would go to the mirror, look up and ask himself one simple question.
    If today were the last day of my life, would I wanna do what I’m about to do today?
    And whenever the answer was no for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.
    As simple as that. Ask yourself whether what you are about to do or what you are currently doing is worth the attention when put on the counter against the thought of this being your last day. If you find yourself answering negatively most of the time, then what’s the point? It means you are facing the wrong direction and you need to change course.

Embracing the concept of mortality as an intellectual tool in your pursuit for personal growth will make you aware of all the things that are just there for the purpose of creating an unnecessary clutter.

It will most definitely open your eyes for the things that matter and the things worth spending your time for. As a result of that your life will gradually transform in the sense of always being dedicated to what you love and what you are passionate about, thus being happy about it. You will also start appreciating those things more; develop an even more sincere relationship with the people that you care about.

So ask yourself, if tomorrow is your last day on Earth would you be doing what you usually do and pursue the same things like any other day? Think about it.

4 opinions already. What's yours?

  1. Rachael

    Great post! Thank you so much for blogging about this. I just wrote a little note down the other day that said, “The fear of death is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

    Without getting into my overly long and overly indulgent personal story here, it’s safe to say that an overwhelming fear and anxiety towards death ended up being my saving grace. My way of coping with the fear was to use the knowledge it gave me (that death happens, we get one life, and we better make this one freaking awesome) to live a better life.

    From career options to ordering in restaurants, the knowledge of death propels me to live a life I’d be happy to say was mine.

    And that’s my greatest blessing.

    Reply
    • Slavko Desik

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Rachael. The fear of death can be, just as you said, understood in two ways. One which creates anxiety and other that encourages passion for living.
      I heard this concept for the first time when watching a video of Steve Jobs at a Stamford commencement speech that he gave. I was blown away by this concept of encouraging yourself and every action that you take, so I went researching. It seams like there is not that much literature about this. Anyway…
      I use this concept (still learning to use it via practice) as to make important decisions. The thing is that they all seam way simpler when faced against this realization of mortality.
      Once again Rachael, thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  2. SI

    Wow, what can I say Slavko, I lost my sister in a car accident many years ago, I was only 21 and that day I realised how mortal I am. It has been a rollercoaster ride where I dropped out for a few years then realised that my life was short and I needed to do something, so far that knowledge of mortality drives me on to change my life for the better. At least when I am old and in a nursing home (if I get there) I will have some great memories and stories to share of my adventures. :-)

    I often use the Buddhist philosophy of focusing on my mortality to keep myself aware that one day I may die and that my life is precious.

    Great post written from the heart. Will share. :-)
    Regards
    SI

    Reply
    • Slavko Desik

      Thanks for sharing SI
      Sometimes we realize things the hardest way, but if we decide to learn even from such experiences then our live can have a huge twist. You said it better than me- you needed to do something. That’s what this whole idea is about, to make us understand that we need to do something, to understand that we are here for a reason. Understanding that tomorrow may as well be our last day here, we try to find that reason, act upon it.

      Once again, thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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