Deathbed Decision Making
Making better decisions, protecting your time, and finding enjoyment.
You’re 99 years old, lying in the bed you’ll die in within the next few days.
What are you thinking about? What thoughts will occupy your mind over those days?
Let me guess… You’re pissed about a speeding ticket from 40 years ago? Fuming about an argument with your partner? Wishing you had more sex in your university days?
Did I get any right? Of course not – these things don’t matter! They don’t matter now and they certainly won’t be on your mind in your final days.
We spend far too much time worrying and ruminating about the things we can’t control or don’t matter. So, where should we place our focus instead?
Life is a series of decisions that determines:
How we spend our time – Job and Activities
Who we spend it with – Life Partner, Family, and Friends
Where we spend it – Location
How you decide to shape these will determine the quality and enjoyability of your life and, as a result, how much regret you experience when your time is up.
It’s never too late in life to make a decision, no matter how drastic it is, that improves your life in one of these areas.
Changing Course: The Power Of The Present Moment
This image by Tim Urban depicts the power you have right now to shape your life in the future.
But oftentimes, it isn’t finding opportunities to say “yes” to that will improve your life (there are a million and one) but instead learning to say “no” to everything else.
The Art of Saying “No”: Time Over Money
When you say “yes,” you’re saying “no” to something else. Everything in life has a price.
Time is infinitely more valuable than money yet, for some reason, we give time away for free while keeping a tight fist over the things you can get more of like money, possessions, and property.
Seneca pointed out the time that has passed us is dead. Death isn’t something that lies ahead in our future, it’s happening to us right now.
Every second that passes you is irretrievable. Ponder this before deciding how you’re going to spend the next 10 minutes.
Get Comfortable Saying “No”
If you don’t guard your time, it will be wasted by fools and manipulators.
Say “No” to everything you don’t want to do that is non-essential (and won't get you fired). Be thoughtful and polite in your response but firm and final. Do not sway.
Show respect for your own time and others will too. You only have to be assertive a few times to demonstrate to others that your time is not to be wasted.
You must also be honest with yourself about how you spend your own time. We’re often our own biggest obstacle. If you aren’t intentional about how your time is spent it’s easy to squander it.
You Made Space. How Will You Fill It?
Now that you’ve created more time in your life by purposefully saying “No” to everything you don’t want to do and that which is non-essential, you’ll have extra time to fill.
Be intentional about how you use that time.
How do you want to live your life? What are your priorities?
Does how you spend your time align with those priorities?
Recognize that you do not have unlimited time nor do you have complete control over your existence. You could be hit by a bus tomorrow.
Although you may not realize it yet, there’s a gun to your head being held by the grips of time.
This isn’t meant to be sad, but it’s the necessary motivation and frame we need to stop throwing away time and misdirecting energy.
Live in the present moment.
Focus on one thing at a time.
Consciously and intentionally design days that excite and fulfill you.
“Are you afraid of death because you won’t be able to do THIS anymore?”
– Marcus Aurelius
And, as always, please give me feedback. What did you like or dislike? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Please let me know. Just respond to this email, leave a comment, or Tweet me @jackrossdixon.
Have a wonderful tail end to your week.