Death Is One Hell of a Wake-Up Call

How dealing with death made my goals clearer to me

Posted originally on my personal blog —

Yes. I know it sounds like a black-metal song title, but actually it’s not as dark as it sounds. Death of people I know can really make my head work and make me think about life achievements and goals.

Why now?

A few days ago, Shimon Peres, the former President of Israel, passed away at the age of 93. Peres was a very active politician and served Israel until his last days. It didn’t take much to convince me he was an amazing person, because I loved him since I was a little boy, but watching the amount and the diversity of people who talked about him and came to his funeral was amazing — Barack Obama, Prince Charles, Justin Trudeau, Bill Clinton, and even President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas. People from both sides of the political map appreciated him and told amazing stories about him, because he connected with them on a personal level, and this, I think, is really amazing. I really recommend watching Barack Obama’s eulogy.

How do I want to be talked about in my funeral

When someone dies, people talk a lot about him, about his achievements, and about the personality he or she had. Most of the times it brings out the best sides of this person, and makes his or her life look like the most amazing thing. This makes me think — How do I want to be talked about in my funeral? What accomplishments would I like to be remembered for when I die? I know I want to be remembered as someone who left a mark.


Two years ago my father passed away. I’ve spent a week listening to people who told stories about my father and about his personal and professional accomplishments. My father had achieved a lot in his life and stayed loyal to himself through the process. Staying true to himself got him into a lot of trouble, but it also brought him to amazing achievements. He had amazing achievements in sports and had been a very important architect. When he died, I was stuck in an unfulfilling job, doing things I didn’t want to do and letting life pass me by. After listening to the stories about my father, I understood there’s no way I’m staying stuck in the place I was. I pulled some strings, worked hard and moved to the job I wanted (UX designer). I think death is putting a mirror in front of your face, telling you “Hey! How are you going to summarize your life?”. That mirror is one of the most motivating things I’ve encountered my whole life. I wouldn’t like to be summarizing my life as “Okay”, I want my life to be fulfilling and exciting.

That’s my dad right there

Well, people don’t actually have to die

People don’t have to die for you to be motivated, it’s just a very concentrated portion of motivation. Death is your life’s deadline — either you accomplish what you desire or not. That thought is pretty stressful, but it takes you to the edge and motivates you, and I think the edge is a really good place for people to think about their desires and goals.

To sum it up

It sounds like a really cheap cliché in my head, but I have to say it — Your funeral will summarize your whole life. Give people the

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