Mental Model

It’s a fact that our life will end someday – that is out of our control. Each day is an opportunity to accomplish something meaningful with a sense of urgency. Embrace mortality as fuel to endure and work hard toward your reaching your full potential. The world needs your superpower.

Summary

  • What you will learn – to not shy away from mortality but to embrace it as a source of energy.
  • Why it’s important – our life will end someday and how we use that time between now and then will dictate the quality of our life.
  • The outcome – a stronger focus to allocate your daily time and energy to meaningful work and experiences.

Overview of the Law

“All things human, are short-lived and perishable” – Seneca

Our days are limited.

How we spend each day will influence the outcomes of this precious life.

In the hustle of daily life, it’s easy to lose consciousness of this force we do not control.

Instead of avoiding what can be a depressing thought, embrace each day as a gift as we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Connect with your mortality to shape each day.

The Directives

1. Embrace your mortality as a source of energy.

Wake up and calibrate yourself that life is short.

Feel a sense of urgency and energy to accomplish something meaningful now.

You are not promised tomorrow – don’t put off important work.

Use today as if it’s your last day alive.

2. Allocate your life to meaningful work.

Commit to pursuits you believe in.

Abstain from most things in life that are a time suck without valuable outcomes for you and others.

For each activity during your workday, ask yourself if this activity is worthy of your time and essential to your best contribution.

Devote effort and commitment to pursuits that transcend just money.

3. Transition to a higher calling on your terms.

Don’t commit to anyone but yourself – today’s world is just business.

As opportunities arise out of luck or circumstance, pursue those that are more aligned with your mission and purpose.

Do not wait, you don’t owe anybody other than yourself.

4. Master your allocation of time, talent, and treasure.

Plan each day according to your priorities.

Invest in relationships with people that value your time and presence.

Avoid meetings and events without purpose and alignment with your goals.

Apply your unique talent to deliver the highest achievement.

Spend your money on things that align with your purpose.

Experiment With This

  • Narrow your time horizon to the day and focus on making it valuable. We are not promised tomorrow.
  • Plan your day at least a day in advance by adding appointments to your calendar. Resist letting others control where and how you spend your time. Who are the people that do not respect my time that I should consider distancing myself from?
  • Paint a mental vision to shape the day ahead. How can I make today productive and memorable?
  • Take more control over your career and life and ask yourself throughout the day: “Is what I am doing right now, worthy of my precious time”? Does my current work bring out my best talent to leave a mark on the world?

References

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene (Chapter 18 – Meditate On Our Common Mortality)

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday (Part III – Meditate On Your Mortality)

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – by William B. Irvine (Chapter 18 – Dying: On a Good End to a Good Life)

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself – by Michael A. Singer (Chapter 17 – Contemplating Death)

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday (Part III – On the Final Act)

Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality – by Anthony De Mello (The Death of Me, Dead Ahead)

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday (December: Meditation on Mortality)