This week, I discuss the importance of reflecting on your death.

Table of Contents

What Is Memento Mori?

death is inevitable | skull

You will die. There is no escaping the inevitable.

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” – J.K. Rowling

Memento Mori” is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “remember that you [have to] die.” Memento Mori also refers to any object that reminds you of your eventual death.

Thinking about your death is scary. However, consistently reflecting on your mortality reminds you how limited your time is. Because your time is limited, you should not waste energy or efforts on things and people that do not serve your virtuous ends.

Why Do We Avoid Thinking About Death?

man holding candle | death forward

Do not fear death. Embrace the reality of your mortality and use it as fuel to push you forward.

Modern people do not like to reflect on their mortality. From avoiding having children to rampant consumerism, all our actions direct us away from what is higher and inevitable.

You will die. Consuming popular media will not change this. The nihilist tries to say life will always mean nothing while he consumes, pouts, and whines. Yet, life does have meaning, and you must push yourself to reach your fullest potential.

However, we have limited time to reach this potential, and achieving our best selves requires too much pain, suffering, and commitment. So, we find every distraction we can and call our consumption noble. But death will come from us and find us weak and useless.

Memento Mori: How To Reflect On Your Mortality and Use Your Death As Fuel

zeal death | man holding guitar triumphantly

Respond to the reality of death with discipline, zeal, and frugality.

‘”I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”‘ – J.R.R. Tolkien

But there is another option: use your death as fuel to inspire the best behavior from yourself. You have goals and dreams, and you don’t have all day to resolve them. You must get to work.

By using the two exercises below, you can learn to accept your death and use this acceptance to improve yourself.

Prepare for your death – get life term insurance, save for retirement, have a will


Since you have to die, you should set everything in order. Once you are dead, you cannot undo past mistakes, help those in your care, or strengthen your community.

Most people do not think about their death and thus are unprepared. However, doing things such as getting life term insurance, saving for retirement, and having a will helps you maturely process what is inevitable.

Above all else, preparing for your death gives you confidence your passing will not destroy the lives of those around you. When you know you are taking care of what’s essential, you can live with less guilt and shame. Additionally, others will see your responsibility and admire what you’re doing.

Preparing for your death gives the fuel to understand every second is precious. Everything you do will echo in eternity. Thus, it is crucial to be prepared for the inevitable. Do not hoard your resources. Invest in good people by buying their products, supporting their dreams, and holding them to a high standard. Become a hero everyone can look up to.

Use what you have today to build a better future that lasts long after you’re gone.

Imagine a world where you or a loved one is gone

death virtue | funeral

The life and people you value will be gone one day. Are you treating them justly? Are you living with virtue in mind?

“I don’t want to die without any scars.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Imagine what life looks like with your death or the death of a loved one. How does the community react? Do people in your life know you loved them? Do you ignore individuals who, when they are gone, you will sorely miss?

Reflect on losing your life. Reflect on waking up one morning, but your partner doesn’t. Reflect on getting the call that your parent has died in the hospital or your child is not coming home. Think about these things often, so you can learn to appreciate every moment and every second.

Reflecting on the loss of life will fuel your emotional control and time management. Remain patient with others and tell them you love them. Show kindness and remain loyal: overcome addictions and gain wisdom that you can give to your community. Assist everyone whenever you can. One day, you will not be able to help them.

Do not take your life or anyone’s life for granted. Spend all the time you have wisely.

Memento Mori: Never let death catch you unprepared

woman smiling in mountains

Meet death smiling.

“I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.” – Ayn Rand

Death can happen at any time. Live as if you’ll die today but plan as if you’ll live forever. You must live to maximize your days. But your life must point towards building a sustainable future you or your descendants can enjoy tomorrow.

Live with intense zeal. Seek to accomplish impossible things every day. But live your life with patience and posterity in mind.

“Memento Mori” – one day, you will die. But your death does not have to be a conclusion to a wasted life.


  1. When are you planning to create a will, sign up for life term insurance, and plan for your retirement? Why haven’t you already?
  2. Do you think about your death? Try reflecting once a day about your mortality and that of others.
  3. What are your life goals? Will you be able to accomplish them on your current trajectory?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume. *Image credit to Unsplash.