The Three Most Powerful Motivations - zen habits - Deepstash
Effective Motivation: Death Meditation

The awareness of death is a powerful motivator, as evident in Buddhist, Samurai and Stoic teachings. Our days are numbered, and we must leave what is unimportant and focus on the essential.

However depressing it may sound, focusing on one’s death and considering oneself dead every day removes all distractions and time-wasting activities from our lives. It liberates us to move out of the fluffy cushion of life and get on to work, which is the best kind of motivation.

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Let me respectfully remind you Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed. Tonight your days are diminished by one. Do not squander your life.

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Every evening, simply remember that:

  1. You will die, inevitably. Accept this fact.
  2. What do you do with your limited days?
  3. Tomorrow could be your last day, how would you spend it? How will you treat others?
  4. What meaningful work you can do right now to feel at peace?

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People that we deeply care about, our family, loved ones and our friends, can be incredibly motivating for us, and get us to move. We eventually work for our loved ones, not for money or fame.

A man, for example, has a basic desire for his wife and kids to look up to him as a role model. One cannot be a superhuman, so there will be flaws. But one can be trustworthy, fearless, compassionate, courageous and alive.

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Play and adventure sustain our energy levels and help make otherwise boring and difficult tasks to be light and joyful.

Serious stuff stresses us out, and turning an activity into something full of exploration, curiosity, excitement, discovery, adventure and fun is a great way to stay motivated.

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  1. Make sending and replying to emails a game, by setting time limits or adding humour in the content.
  2. Make your finances a game where we keep our debt as little as we can, or keep our investments as large as possible. One can get excited about rising savings or diminishing debts.
  3. Writing a book can be an explorative journey into your own mind, where you interact with yourself and your potential readers, finding life and adventure in your own written words.

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  1. Get complete rest instead of watching TV or sitting up late at night on your computer.
  2. Find some stillness for a while in your busy day.
  3. Start small, not getting bogged down by the enormity of the task. Small actions create a compound effect.
  4. Involve your friends and family to be held accountable for your goals and how you are trying to accomplish them. Instruct them to not let you fail.

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