In the stress and anxiety that this year has caused for me and the complete upheaval in both my personal and professional life, I stumbled upon stoicism.
And when I say stumbled, I literally mean stumbled. It was a bizarre chain of events:
- Going on vacation to Cancun in February meaning an 11 hour flight
- Me deciding to get and use a free Audible credit and getting the complete Sherlock Holmes collection which was 70 hours
- Gyms closing which meant me walking outside more
- This allowed me to get through the whole audiobook collection
- Me not wanting to pay for a monthly subscription deciding to try some podcasts
- Starting with ‘My Dad Wrote A Porno’ and when that got stale, exploring others
- The Minimalists podcast popping up in my recommendations on the podcast app
- Me listening to a few episodes and then subscribing
- A random mention of stoicism leading me to Google it
- Me stumbling upon the Daily Stoic Youtube channel and the first episode being about stoicism and anxiety – perfect for what I needed
- Me studying it more and more
So like I said, when I say stumbled, I really mean it.
And I’m glad I did because I would have absolutely been in an asylum by now if I hadn’t.
Anyway that was a fun little tangent.
So back to stoicism and one of the most prominent concepts amongst stoics.
What Does Memento Mori Mean?
The literal translation is ‘you have to die‘.
It is a bit deeper than that.
It’s a reminder to reflect daily on your life, to not put things off and to cherish every moment.
How Do You Apply Memento Mori?
Because nothing lasts forever, we all have to pass, and as a result, in the grand scheme of things, those things that you’re putting off or avoiding that you’re scared of because isn’t actually that big a deal and there’s no reason to not do it.
I kind of merged 2 separate aspects of it into one there so let me split that up for you.
Nothing lasts forever
In other words, everything is temporary so in the grand scheme of things, the stuff that you’re scared of doing isn’t actually that big a deal that you need to be fearful of it.
You could die any time
You could literally die at any moment on any die. When you think about that, it’s worth reflecting on what you’ve done and what you’re doing and of course the legacy you’ll leave.
Do you want to leave a legacy of fear and regret?
Of staying in the shadows?
Of never achieving your potential?
Of spending your time scrolling through Facebook?
Memento Mori – we all must die, it can happen any time. Figure out what you want your life to look like before you go.
Memento Mori Isn’t Depressing
It’s easy to flip this around and say ‘we’re going to die anyway, what’s the point of doing anything?’ and stay depressed and unfulfilled.
But the purpose of Memento Mori is the opposite – celebrate your life, take action and create urgency.
Memento Mori In Business
I wrote a couple of days ago about imposter syndrome.
And how there is so much fear and anxiety of being labelled a fraud or scammer or never being good enough, which is holding me back.
And I am using the Memento Mori mindset to help me overcome this.
My anxiety is deep rooted so it will take time and work and a ton of mental energy. It’s not a quick fix but it will keep reminding me to keep trying.
So if you think about the things in your life or your business that you’re putting off, or that you’re scared of doing, maybe you need to Memento Mori the crap out of it and move.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Seneca, one of the most prominent stoic philosophers:
“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”