Memento mori is loosely translated as ‘remember you must die’.
As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, the only certain things in this life are death and taxes. Not many people forget the taxes part, but most seem to forget the death part – even when it surrounds them.
I have become increasingly aware of death, it seems to be everywhere, despite the mortality rate actually dropping on average. However, illness and death is still everywhere we look.Â We are more connected now, and therefore more aware of the all the tragic losses of life, and people dying before their time. But many people don’t seem to pay attention to it. I’m not saying we should all be depressed about it – quite the opposite. Surely the fact we are going to die is the biggest motivator there is? Every day wasted is a day closer to death and ultimately not achieving our goals.
One thing I often saw at university which confused me, was people paying Â£9,000 a year to waste their time. Most people were sat in the library pulling all nighters to reach the next days deadline, totally oblivious to the fact they’d spent 8 hours that day on FIFA. I’m sure there are benefits to FIFA, but I doubt it’s going to improve the essay writing skills…
This isn’t to say that every minute of the day needs to be regimented. But the excuse people often give for not reaching their targets or goals is that they don’t have time. Whether the goals are related to fitness, academia, travelling, starting a business or any goal you can possibly think of, it will only be achieved if the time is committed. And every day, week, or month that it isn’t worked on is a day, week, or month closer to it never being achieved.
Some people may see the fact we’re going to die anyway as a reason to stay in the comfort zone, or constantly go out drinking, binge watching Netflix (we’re all guilty of this one), or generally dossing about. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just know that the goals won’t be achieved – simple as that.
One of the most common things guests on my podcast mention is that simply following the process will yield the results. What you put in is what you will get out. If you want to start a business, or hit a fitness target but ‘don’t have time’, get up half an hour earlier or cut half an hours TV. Just 30 minutes in a day will be 3.5hours a week of concentrated effort. Nowadays that is enough to open a business bank account online, register at Companies House, set up a business email address, and start creating a basic website; all of that would be done in the first week of getting up 30 minutes earlier. If you’re not interested in business, in 30 minutes you could also fit in a Duolingo lesson (language learning app), 10 minutes meditation, and a 10 minute kettlebell workout.
Once most objectives are broken down to daily or weekly tasks, they’re really quite small. Take deadlifting for example (as mentioned in the podcast with Lindsay Bruce). If you walk into the gym and want to double your deadlift, it won’t happen straight away. But if you increase the weight in small increments every week, you’ll double it in no time. Â These principles are the basis of everything. Want to lose weight? Just make sure you’re in a calorie deficit, simple. Want to improve cardio? Make sure you increase your aerobic work. Stronger = lift more. Better informed = read/listen more.
Every single successful person on the planet, still only had 24 hours in the day. From Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Barack Obama, Einstein, and Darwin. They all had the same time, and unless you’ve got access to a time machine (or some very good growth hormone), there is no turning the clock back.
â€œLet us prepare our minds as if weâ€™d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance lifeâ€™s books each dayâ€¦The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.â€ – Seneca
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