I’m conflicted about this post. What was supposed to be a productivity hack, turned into an emotionally draining dance with mortality. It works, but you have been forewarned.
But first, Fight Club. Meet Raymond K Hessel. Convenience store clerk, with no direction in life. A college dropout with no ambition. Faced with his own death, he finally discovers the thing that he wants most in life.
For a long time I thought about how to replicate the moment of death for empowerment. Turns out I wasn’t alone. It’s an idea popular in Ancient Roman Stoicism, called Momento Mori. Translated as “remember that you have to die,” It is a reminder of mortality to keep a person humble and grounded.*
When you face death, you want nothing more than life.
That is how the death clock was born. Using an app called Countdown, I gave myself until 40 to live. Not because I want to die at 40, but because I want the urgency of a nearing demise. The death clock is a countdown that lives on my cell phone homescreen. Each time I look at my phone, I see how many days until the end.
It’s grim, but it is incredibly enpowering. An easy mind hack to help make the most of each day.
I don’t know if this will work for everyone, but has been amazingly effective for me in the six months that I’ve done this.
* -It is also why you see skeletons and death in Medieval Churches, as a reminder of your inevitable judgment.