“I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it.” - Epictetus
At any moment there could be a death, sickness or anything else negative that happens to yourself or a loved one. Don’t forget to be grateful for what you have and don’t yearn too much for the future as at any moment you can lose your health or those you love.
This is something the Stoics spoke about often in their teachings as death is more than just a concept to the Stoics. Death is referenced so often in Stoicism that one might think it’s a death cult. The reason for the constant references towards death however is due to one simple fundamental understanding the Stoics have that many people overlook. At any moment we could die.
The morbidity of Stoicism and philosophies like it are often misunderstood as negative, however, the real reason it’s referenced so often is that a fundamental understanding that something bad can happen to you at any time gives you a sense of urgency that many people would not reach otherwise. If you live your life with an understanding that at any moment you can lose your ability to read, write, or even live then every second becomes precious to you.
With this kind of understanding now, I do procrastinate so much less than I used to. There was even a streak of 8 or so months where I did not miss a check box on my to-do list because of the constant urgency I felt to complete every task possible. The only thing that eventually made me break was forcing myself to take a break when I got sick. Even in that circumstance, I wasn’t procrastinating, and instead, I would say I was recovering for the next charge of fulfilling my life’s purpose.
I digress but the whole point of what I’m blathering on about is that there are only so many years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds that you have before you lose your senses or your life. Being self-aware of that countdown is one of the strongest forces you can have to propel yourself into a better future.
The other amazing thing that comes from this frame of mind is the gratitude that comes with understanding how quickly life can change for you. It’s funny but the only times where I seem to realize how great it is that I have the ability to work hard are the days when I’m sick. When I wake up feeling miserable and feverish are the days when I wish I could wake up at 4 AM.
Practicing gratitude is something I will always champion here at Rise Productive and I suggest all of you do a daily practice of imaging your life being worse and then being grateful it is not. From this, I hope you will find a harder working version and a happier version of yourself. The only way you can make tomorrow a better day is by making the most of the present one. Thinking anything else is just a mirage.
Have an awesome week!
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✍️ Quote of the Week
“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” - Marcus Aurelius