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Death and disease are unavoidable aspects of life. However, in the West, we've developed a delusional denial of this. We pour billions into prolonging life, most employed in our final years, but fail to value life. The most regrets of the dying are cited as follows:
German philosopher Martin Heidegger concerned himself with the relationship between death-awareness and leading a fulfilling life. He argued that being aware of our own passing makes us desire to make our life worthwhile and give it meaning and value.
This awareness that we are going to die is important because it reminds us to live our life to the full every day and avoid experiencing unnecessary regret.
Most Eastern philosophical traditions appreciate the importance of death-awareness for a well-lived life. The Buddha saw desire as the cause of all suffering and counseled not to get too attached to worldly pleasures but to focus on loving others, developing a calm mind, and staying in the present.
An awareness of our mortality can move us to seek and create the meaning we crave.
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Time is the most precious resource. Death gives a sense of urgency, as any moment could be your last. It humbles you and should also deeply motivate you to not spend your time thoughtlessly.
Outside forces don’t make us feel things, our perceptions of them do. It’s easy to think otherwise, but doing so harms us and undermines our self-discipline.
The next time you run into an obstacle and feel resistance, don’t look at what’s around you. Instead, look within.
Whatever you do, there are individuals that you can learn from. If you can’t talk to them, you can study their story, works, techniques, successes, and failures, and discover patterns of success you can apply to your life.
Be careful not to turn it into an exercise of comparison and expect your progress to be the same as theirs. Their teachings and principles are supposed to help you grow, learn, and create.