You’re Going to Die Pretty Soon So Do The Important Stuff Now

in motivation •  6 months ago

Motivational advice tends to be dripping with positive happy sentiments and feel-good rah-rah which probably works for children and people who have a generally happy disposition all the time anyway.

But it’s not really cutting it for the people who need it the most.

The types of people who lack motivation and need to actually research into getting motivated and being successful are already pretty deep into an unfortunate headspace where an aphorism or a hundred hasn’t helped.

People lacking motivation are usually pretty smart. In my experience, they’re smarter than average, because a lack of motivation implies a kind of introspection that “fat dumb and happy” people simply can’t and don’t experience.

So if you know anyone who needs a motivational boost, just remind them that they are going to die fairly soon and then they don’t get to do the thing they had planned to do. They don’t get to do anything. They HAVE to do it now.

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It’s not like this is a new idea.

Except it’s usually framed with the important happy stuff first, and then a quick little “because soon you’ll be dead,” or some other kind of hedging.

This works best, though, when the dead part is out on the front end.

You’re going to die. It’s going to come quick. This isn’t some motivational trick or some hypothetical. You, dead forever, no longer existing for one hundred, on thousand, ten thousand, ten million, plus an infinite time after, absolutely, 100%, will happen.

A huge chunk of your time alive is already gone, and you haven’t done what you wanted.

You could, very easily, die tomorrow. You probably won’t. So that’s good. But you will die pretty soon. It seems like it’s far away, but it’s not. Nobody ever feels like things are slowing down as they get older. It’s always quicker and quicker and then gone, in this form, from this life, forever.

And as of the current moment, you’re close to being gone forever without having done what you wanted to do. You’ve lived for nothing. You’ve existed for nothing.

Maybe you think that you can start it “tomorrow” except tomorrow is never going to be here. Literally and figuratively.

You are approaching death and need to do the important stuff, literally, right now.

Be You before there is no more “You” to “Be” Forever.

Practical Tip: When the person needing motivation reads this, a natural common response is to just kind of laugh it off, or shut down the thought of this, or get angry. All of that is an incredible and useful mental trick, largely instinctual, that happens in order to allow people to avoid any prolonged experience of the unfathomable infinity of a person’s own non-existence. The brain can’t process “infinite” and “nothingness,” so the dissonance of your brain trying to parse that Void is the most terrifying dread that a human can experience. So the brain does what it can to avoid that.

Don’t let your brain (or the brain of the person needing motivation) do that. Otherwise, this motivation doesn’t work at all.

Stick with the thought of the brute fact that being dead forever is a very real, imminent moment that will last for eternity. Don’t let the brain trick you away from the thought, because the brain is just doing what it’s built to do to survive. Stick with the thought until you have a moment where, just for the briefest interval, barely existent really, your mind brushes up against the horror of the thought of you dying, which, again, IS ABSOLUTELY going to happen. Then use THAT. There is NO better motivation.

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This is inspiring indeed, until we start to be believing in this manner, we will not be void of procrastination.
There is nothing to celebrate about age increment, it's a pointer that we have so little more time to spend here on earth.

Thanks for the beautiful piece, you sound like a psychologist.....

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Well that’s incredibly kind of you, thanks!

It always seemed, at least to me, that this type of thinking is useful because if it’s universality. No matter what someone believes occurs (or doesn’t occur) after this life, it doesn’t change the fact that this is the only “this life” anybody has, so it’s pretty important to squeeze all the meaning out of it possible, and right now.

My particular cultural tradition has an old saying that every person needs to make sure to receive forgiveness and do only good things the day before their death.

This concept has a very reasonable built-in question, which is pretty obvious, as well as a beautifully intrinsic answer, which is equally as obvious.

Thanks again for the nice reply and engagement!

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My particular cultural tradition has an old saying that every person needs to make sure to receive forgiveness and do only good things the day before their death.

I love that believe of your culture, we have something similar in my culture too. We believe that whatever you do before you die would be used for or against you in judgement, but it can only work excellently well if we all know when it is our turn to depart from earth... Lol

The simple truth is that, we should make the best use of our time here, no need to wait that long before we do things right.

Thanks once more

Yes! This is the kind of self-help book (the only kind) I would read!

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That’s about the highest compliment you could pay to me. I really appreciate that. I think we share the same distaste for self-help products, although judging by their popularity, I think we’re a small minority.

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We are that small minority. Good to meet you, fellow-distaste-having-person.
But in all honesty, this is why I stopped studying psychology and became a philosopher instead.

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Haha Crazy Slavoj. Whenever I’m in a bad mood I just watch him spaz out about the philosophy of, like, toilets or comparative phenomenology of tulips and vaginas.

I have too much of a sunny disposition to agree with his metaphysics about existence as a disharmonious state—at least as it comes across on its surface meaning. (Not to go all Strauss on you, but I’m pretty sure a lot of Zizek’s ideas are intended to have deeper esoteric meanings that I’m, frankly, not able to grasp, so he may very well be conveying a positive attitude towards existence).

But he’s always good for getting the old noggin whirring.