Death is The Best Motivator

Mar 10, 2013 by

Death is The Best Motivator

This might sound very dark and even confusing but in all honesty I find the thought of death being my biggest motivator.

I used to be so terrified of thinking about death and how it was bound to happen to everyone including me. I remember having panic attacks in the middle of the night, the thought of it would just take over me and go into a vicious cycle until it made me jump out of my bed and scream, pretty unpleasant experience .

I tried getting over the thought but still nothing helped. It kept repeating over and over again until I have gotten used to it and now I am absolutely comfortable with it.

It’s funny how we always try not to think about it, we always try to distract ourselves from that one thing that we absolutely know is going to happen. We ignore its importance and pretend like we will always live on for ever and ever. This type of delusional thinking weakens our performance.

Here is how I think – I know I am going to die one day even though I am only 22 years old. I know it is going to happen. It is a reality and I am facing it, I am embracing the thought that we only have so much time on this planet. It makes me want to cherish my experiences more profoundly, makes me want to work harder, makes me want to change the world before I go and leave it as a better place when I am gone.

It’s interesting how the idea of knowing about our death is the price we pay for being self-aware. I take that deal and I am happy that I am a human who is self-aware.

We all have flaws, I mean we do, of course we do. I rationalize my flaws – clumsy at times, not too involved in my family’s affairs and events, I don’t know how to listen to other people well, I have a very short temper, I can be very egotistical at times, I can hurt people’s feelings and quickly forget about it all, I rush. I know this about myself and there is not a second in my life when I am not trying to fix those things. It is challenging, it really is but the more I think about death the more I get motivated to change myself.

I came to this world and I will go as the best version of myself. It is a very profound and powerful feeling when one looks death right in the eyes; while realizing its presence one gets even more ambitious about making this life as special as possible, making every second of one’s life count.

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  • Sue

    Very deep and meaningful article. It really makes you appreciate life! Many thanks for the article.

    • InnovaTonic

      Thank you once again, appreciate the kind words :)

  • Sue

    Very sad and emotional article however it was extremely well written and really makes you think.

    • InnovaTonic

      Thank you so much, hope it helps you to get motivated yourself :)

  • Patrick

    I thought it was quite funny how the tags are best and death kind of ironic lol. Very inspirational article thank you.

    • InnovaTonic

      hahaha yes it was all a coincidence, I hope!

  • Mary M.

    Fantastic article, I really enjoyed it. I to have flaws but at least it puts it into perspective as others do as well.

    • InnovaTonic

      Thank you for your kind words :)

  • Daniel

    I respect your view of death and the impact that it has on your life, but I don’t really agree with your theory that death is the best motivator. In fact, I think the opposite is the truth. It is life that is the best motivator. I never think about death and it’s not because I fear death or because I think I’ll live forever. I don’t think about death, because I’m alive right now and my job is to live as fully as I can right this moment. Death just doesn’t occur in my mind, but again, I’m don’t disrespect your view of death. To each his own I suppose.

    • InnovaTonic

      First of all I am very happy to hear that you like living life to the fullest. But now let me ask you a question – are you SURE that you are living it fully and the reason is NOT that you aren’t going to live forever? Because I think it is.

      See if you knew that you could live forever why would you try to live your life fully every day? You would be bored actually. You would be extremely bored.

      The reason you want to live your life to the fullest is because you know there is an END to it all. You don’t want to get to the end and realize you have wasted your life which is MAKING you to live it fully and completely.

      So what you are saying is that you are motivated by death to live the life but it’s still death that motivates you, and that was exactly my point.

      I would like to hear your thoughts! :)

    • Daniel

      @InnovaTonic:disqus You make a good counterargument and I could see why someone could share your view as well, but me living life to the fullest has little to do with knowing that there is an end to it all. Life itself is fun enough and motivating enough for me. In other words, I don’t need to be pressed to do better just because there is an end. I enjoy life and I live it fully, because life on its own is good enough without even having to think that it could all end at any moment. If someone needs to think about death or the end as motivator to do better, then by all means, but I personally don’t need such thing.

      • InnovaTonic

        Okay let me try to present my idea a little differently to you.

        Would a race car driver KEEP racing with passion and motivation if he/she knew there wasn’t going to be an end?

        You said that “Life itself is fun enough and motivating enough for me”, why is it motivating for you? Would it be motivating for you if you knew there wasn’t going to be an end? Could you imagine yourself being infinitely motivated?

        Now don’t get me wrong I am not trying to instill this idea into you because I know I cannot prove that death is the best motivator. I only wrote this article because it WAS and still IS for me.

        However I would want you to really think about the questions I asked you because you might not have realized consciously, but unconscionably it is death that motivates you to develop yourself.

        For me personally the idea of death brings me BACK into the present moment, which let’s me enjoy my life and live it fully. I am just wondering if it is the same thing for you?

        Let me know what you think, very interested in your response!

        • Daniel

          Once again, very good counterargument, but I believe the motivating factor is different in all people. The only time that I thought of death much was when my father passed away, but even then it was about a day thing and I moved on with my life right away. It’s not that I don’t miss him or that I didn’t love him, but you just continue living your life, because that’s the best that you can do for yourself and for your family. Anyhow, if death is something that gives you the urgency to ask more of yourself and to do better, then great, but it hasn’t been the case for me. I enjoy life at every moment (admittedly there are some bad times lol) and death is something that I rarely think about.

          • InnovaTonic

            I respect and take seriously everything that you have said however you still didn’t answer my questions fully :)

          • Daniel

            Oops! LOL~ I guess I completely disregarded your question there. Please don’t be offended as that wasn’t my intention. This is really the first time that I’m thinking deeply about death, so it’s sort of a new territory for me. Right off the bat I’m reminded of my father and how he died so young. It’s a shame that he didn’t have more time in this world, but I guess I’m not the only who’s lost someone prematurely. Death for me is just sad at this point. One of the most important person in my life has died, but before him I didn’t have anyone to relate about death, because no one that important to me had died while I was old enough to understand what it all meant for my life. So yeah, as mundane as it might sound, death is just sad to me.

          • InnovaTonic

            I am very sorry to hear about your father. I guess deep down inside it is like a protective mechanism to block death out of your view which is totally understandable.

            Thank you for your comments and doe bringing up a different pallet of colors into this interesting discussion :)

  • Sophia

    Hmmm… Death as motivator huh? I guess it could make sense if you’re always aware that life could end at any moment, because that is a fact that can’t be disputed. I don’t know though, do people really live their lives fully because they’re afraid of death? I don’t think most people even think about death on a daily basis and I surely don’t work hard everyday because of the end. I just do because I got bills to pay and because I want to build a future. Maybe I’m being too simplistic?

    • InnovaTonic

      haha I think you are being too simplistic.

      Also you don’t have to think about death on a conscious level to be motivated by it. Many people know about their end unconsciously. So there are two ways of knowing about it!

      But here is a thought – every time you think about death don’t you want to be the BEST version of yourself before you leave this world?

      Share your thoughts :)

      • Sophia

        You see, I’m only thinking about death right now because you ask the question and if the question is do I want to be the best version my myself before I leave this world, then the answer is a solid yes. The thing is though I don’t normally think much about death. I agree with your points, but I’m just saying that death isn’t really what motivates me to be better because I don’t think about it much. Do I think about it subconsciously? I wouldn’t know since that’s happening subconsciously? :P As far as death being a motivator, it could be I guess.

        • InnovaTonic

          The way you can find out whether it is subconscious or not is to ask yourself this question – WHY do you want to be the best version of yourself before you die? Try answering that question with all honesty. Give it a try!

    • Erin

      I don’t really think about death every day either, but your comment is a good reminder of exactly why I should! I’ve got bills to pay and a future to build too… but even though it’s hard to face, I know in reality that all my future plans could be ruined at any moment by a freak accident. So, I’ve really got to make sure that today is just as much worth living for as tomorrow… and maybe take some time out for instant gratification and fun every once in a while :)

  • Tristan

    It’s only natural that people think about death and if you deny that, you’re either a liar or you’re in denial. Death is so obvious and even thought we don’t necessarily think about death at every moment, it is something that we all know will inevitably come. Some people are too stubborn or too proud to admit that they do indeed get motivated by death to do better, but in reality death motivates all of us to some degree. I’d agree that the level of motivation will differ from person to person, but denying that death is a motivating factor is just foolish.

    • Katherine

      Why do you assume you know everyone so well? Hey Mr. Know it all, what makes you so sure that everyone thinks about death? I for one take the neutral stance on this and I say it differs on the individual basis. You don’t have to classify people as stubborn or too proud just because they don’t look at the world the way you do. You’re so self centered I’d smack you silly if you were next to me.

      • InnovaTonic

        Lol no need to smack anyone, we use words here not hands :)

        • Xavier

          The day when someone creates an effective internet slap app is the day we’re all in real trouble here…

          Anyway Tristan, I don’t think anyone here is really debating the essential truth of this post. Yes it’s a little obvious, but It definitely wouldn’t be the first time a point was apparently too obvious to occur to some people… Time motivates me a lot, but I don’t necessarily think of that motivation as acknowledgement of my inevitable death. However, I’m sure that some people would argue that the passing of time is so important to us in our lives because there’s a finite amount of time for each of us.

  • Orwell

    This reminds me of something I heard someone say at my grandfather’s funeral – Live your Eulogy. A little morbid (in my culture I guess we’re all a little morbid), but basically in context it was meant as saying that you should live a life you’d like to be remembered by. If you were to die tomorrow, are you living today as you’d like to be remembered? I liked the concept – basically a way to keep everything in perspective, and make sure that you’re putting the emphasis of your life where it matters most, and not wasting time on the trivial things that really won’t matter in the long run.

    • InnovaTonic

      What you said touched me so much actually – thank you for that beautiful quote.

      That is PRECISELY what I am trying to say in my article. Live a life that you want to be remembered by and not a hedonistic, pleasured-filled nonsense of an existence.

      “Live your Eulogy” – what a GREAT quote. Once again this is exactly how I live my life and I am so happy that you understand what I am talking about.

      Thank you for that beautiful quote!

      • Rachel23

        I agree with both of you guys. Well duh, you guys are saying the same thing so of course :D There’s nothing wrong with seeing death as motivator, as long as it drives you to do better and to transform yourself into a better version of yourself. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we want to be remembered as good people and knowing that the end comes to all of us is a good reminder that we need to live our lives fully every day.

        • InnovaTonic

          You got it right :)

  • Samuel

    I never thought about death this way, but you make a compelling case here. I work hard so that I can provide for my family, but then why do I feel the need to provide for my family? Fatherhood? Sure, but what else? It’s perhaps that we all think about death subconsciously and we want to leave a legacy that we can be proud of. So surely providing well for a family is the number one responsibility as a father and if I do that well, then that would look good on my resume when I die hahaha~ I guess you can say that death is the ultimate motivator for us human beings, the one thing that can motivate anyone.

    • Java

      Lol! Dude, if I need a resume to get into heaven, I am so totally screwed. But I do get where you’re coming from thinking about Legacies and all that. I don’t have much of one right now as I don’t have kids or very much I’d really be leaving behind at this point, but I think I’d feel differently if I did. It would be nice if I did something big enough for this world to remember me for a little bit after I died.

      • Mark Peaty

        “if I need a resume to get into heaven, I am so totally screwed”

        LOL I’m sure so many of us can relate to that idea! :-)

        I have to say though that, as an *EX* christian the concept of heaven is now totally alien to my way of thinking. It was no loss.

        What is interesting is that many thinkers of the past have expressed the same idea as the author of this article. It has been put in a variety of ways, for examples:

        “make death your advisor; know that you death is just an arms length away from you at all times, ” – imputed to a Yaqui [native American] wise mane

        “what human beings need is the implant of a special organ which will have the single function of always reminding them of their own death” – George Gurdjieff, through the words of Beelzebub, one of the main characters in ‘All and Everything’

        “spend time going to funerals, so you come to really understand the transience of your existence” – various Chinese sages of past dynasties.

        “consider this: if you knew, because a that today was indeed your last day on Earth, would you act differently? ON the other hand what if an angel told you today that you are going to live for ever? what would you do differently” – from a Sufi story.

        I took this to heart long ago and I think it did help me to develop a better quality of existence, but one’s life is always a work in progress is it not?!
        Cheers,