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The Deathbed Fallacy

We're not the same person

Maybe you think the key to happiness is universal - that it is a constant in the changing world. However, the challenges facing this generation is not the same as that of the previous generation. Grandparents might have had trouble staying in touch, but they weren’t stuck on social media.

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The Deathbed Fallacy

The Deathbed Fallacy

https://medium.com/@rikardhjort/the-deathbed-fallacy-5e54d9639167

medium.com

6

Key Ideas

The Deathbed Fallacy

People on their deathbeds regret not spending more time with their family, traveling more, worrying less, etc.

We change over time as we grow and mature. The fallacy is to think that the person you are on your deathbed knows how you should live your life right now. 

Not a representative state

The 'deathbed' is not a representative state of life. What you desire when you are there might not have much in common with the most meaningful or satisfactory life you could have led.

  • The deathbed-you has no future, only present and memories.
  •  People on their deathbeds think they know their past selves well, but they probably don't.
  • They are locked in a time, place and life situation that might be different from yours.

Your past selves

You don’t know your past selves. The older you get, the more you think you understand yourself as a younger person. You have probably forgotten how you were influenced then and might still have the same values. 

For instance, you might think that a priority as a child was to fit it. But, if really looking at your diary, you discover that you valued independence back then the same you do now.

We're not the same person

Maybe you think the key to happiness is universal - that it is a constant in the changing world. However, the challenges facing this generation is not the same as that of the previous generation. Grandparents might have had trouble staying in touch, but they weren’t stuck on social media.

Perspectives on life

Those who "figure out" what life is really about, seem to focus a lot on the higher-order needs. They might have been workaholics and will cast judgment on their former selves.

People who already have a lot seem to assume that if they never strived for it, they would be happier. But, striving gave them their family, their network and their passions.

The alternative

Don't worry about the Deathbed fallacy.  Don't worry about what some old version of yourself will think of you. Consider what you should do to become more fulfilled both today and in the future. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Doing What You Love Is A Process

Kiki goes out on her own, and the only thing she really knows how to do is flying. At some point, she loses that ability and cannot think of what to do. Eventually, the magic of flying comes bac...

Going Out Of Your Element Is Inevitable And Necessary

Many people are fearful of getting out of their element a lot of the time.

While it can be uncomfortable and painful to break from an established routine, it can shape you in ways avoiding change does not.

Nothing Big Has To Happen For It To Be Significant

Kiki's Delivery Service is an example of a story where there are not many moments of extreme action, but there is still a significant story being told - one of finding people who inspire or help during a personal crisis.

As with Kiki, we can only be so lucky to find people that provide roles and teach the lessons that Kiki has learned.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO is the experience of worrying that other people are doing more interesting things than you, have more friends than you, and are just all around living a better and cooler life.

Th...

What you really wish to do

Choosing one path means missing another.

When you feel FOMO coming on, ask yourself if the trigger is really something you wish you were doing yourself, or if the sudden recollection of the great number of choices in life has simply brought on a moment of insecurity about your own

If it’s the latter, taking a moment to reaffirm your decision is all it takes to chase the FOMO away.

The need for a change

Keep in mind that your FOMO trigger may not relate directly to something you wish you were doing yourself, but can instead point more broadly to something you want to change about your life.

Examine the source of your FOMO before dismissing it; there may be a good reason you feel insecure about your decisions.

3 more ideas

William James

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James

Choosing your thoughts

Pragmatism believes that the mind is a tool. You have the ability to decide what you think. Or, you can choose NOT to think. And that is one of the most important and most practical things you can learn in life.  

Useful Thoughts:

  1. Thinking about how you can solve problems. A problem is just an unanswered question. Put your brain to use and think about how you can solve problems. 
  2. Understanding knowledge. Try to internalize knowledge and think about how you can use that knowledge to improve your life, career, work, relationships, etc.