Drew Stegmaier
Mar 26, 2016 · 4 min read
Mahatma Ghandi

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — said the man above. Writing your own eulogy can help you do just that. When writing your own eulogy, tons of thoughts and images may appear. One of mine involves visualizing a scene where people are talking about me after I have passed. There is no opportunity for me to respond, no opportunity for me to listen. My entire life was that opportunity. Our actions paint a picture of who we are and influence how others perceive us.

Thinking about death helps make the reality that our time is finite more real. Once we realize that our time is a finite resource and begin to embrace the meaning of that, we enable ourselves to better allocate that capital.

Various studies have shown that thinking about our own mortality can be healthy, such as this one from the University of Missouri, which found that:

thoughts of mortality can lead to decreased militaristic attitudes, better health decisions, increased altruism and helpfulness, and reduced divorce rates.

Taking a step back to reflect is a healthy practice and should be done often. At some point, we are all going to die. When will that be? Who knows?!?! The fact is that it will happen and we should embrace it. Death gives meaning to life.

I recently read this piece in The New York Times and found it fascinating.

The secret is not simply a resolution to stop wasting time, however. It is to find a systematic way to raise the scarcity of time to our consciousness.

What can we gain from writing our own eulogies?

  1. We can better look at our lives objectively. When you are dead, you can no longer speak, stand up for yourself, or have your say. You are only left with legacy.
  2. Reflecting on what our legacy is makes us aware of it.
  3. Once we are aware of our legacy, we become empowered to change it.
  4. When death comes, we will be more prepared as it becomes less of a surprise.
  5. It helps us add purpose and meaning in our lives. When you write your eulogy, try your best to remove bias when possible. If you are feeling bold, ask others to write it for you and see what they say! This may freak you out or make you feel good about yourself. Either way, it will be enlightening. Ask them to be brutally honest. You may not like what they have to say, and hearing it will help you acknowledge and change it.
  6. Once you have written your eulogy, let it sink in. Leave it alone for a few days and look at it. Is it correct? Are you being honest with yourself?
  7. Create your own adventure! You have the power to change what your eulogy says. Your behavior dictates how others perceive you. You can adjust that behavior and your eulogy will adjust with it!

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Chief Tecumseh

What do you want to be remembered for?

PS- Writing my own eulogy inspired me to create this writing. I have over 500,000 words saved in my computer with various thoughts and nuggets and felt that sharing them would expand my comfort zone. More importantly, somewhere in that 500,000 are likely chunks of content others may enjoy. If you enjoyed this (or didn’t), please let me know :)


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Drew Stegmaier

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A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

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