Clocks Overhead.Posted: December 7, 2009
“While knowing that we will die someday, we think that all the others will die before us and that we will be the last to go. Death seems a long way off. Is this not shallow thinking? It is worthless and is only a joke within a dream. . . . Insofar as death is always at one’s door, one should make sufficient effort and act quickly.”
—Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1720)
Imagine waking up one morning and looking into the mirror. You see a shocking sight, a clock running over your head; counting down to your last breath (you would inherently know what the clock was counting down to).
How would you conduct yourself? By that I mean, would put off plans become actions? Would your attention be pulled away from petty issues and sharply focused on goals? I imagine the answer to both would be, yes.
Check out this video (cut to 2:5o). While it is Nickelback (I apologize to those who are averse to their music), the premise of the video provides the best visual for this post. As the above quote states, death is not something we normally contemplate. The point of the quote though is embracing life with an urgency most of us don’t have in our daily lives. The type of urgency we usually reserve for looming finals or deadlines.
I try to conduct each day with a measure urgency, not because I feel death is near, but to override that sense of complacency that there will be a tomorrow. It’s tough! So from time-to-time I visualize a clock over my head, counting down to my end.
It helps beat the point into my subconscious. Then I get on with the day and hustle double-time!