Overcome the fear of death and be happy now
Despite their outward appearance, these people believe they are trapped in a situation that cannot ever get better, and their misery appears to be permanent.
Permanency does not exist in any form in our world.Everything living, everything nature placed here and everything we build will eventually crumble and fall.
Nothing is saved; death and destruction are like the outward breath of God. He breathes in, and life is created, trees were grown and buildings emerge. He breathes out, and people die, trees burn to the ground and buildings collapse.
Everything living, everything nature placed here and everything we build will eventually crumble and fall. Nothing is saved; death and destruction are like the outward breath of God. He breathes in, and life is created, trees were grown and buildings emerge. He breathes out, and people die, trees burn to the ground and buildings collapse.
Saddam Hussein spent a lifetime building as many statues in his image as possible, he commissioned hundreds of portraits to be painted and even officially named Iraq’s main airport Saddam Hussein International Airport. He did all of this in a vain attempt to live on after his death, but he failed. Virtually all of the statues were pulled down and the airport renamed.If you are pinning your happiness and success in life on achieving permanency in some way, then you are destined to fail.
In your final days as you lay on your deathbed considering your vast property portfolio and the millions of dollars in the bank, most would happily trade it all for just one more week of life.
If you are pinning your happiness and success in life on achieving permanency in some way, then you are destined to fail. In your final days as you lay on your deathbed considering your vast property portfolio and the millions of dollars in the bank, most would happily trade it all for just one more week of life.
Overcome the fear of death by owning more stuff?
More subtly than that, we all also display our attachment to the idea of permanency when we give ourselves labels. Do you not think at some point when Adolf Hitler was growing up his mother sat him on her knee and told him he was such a good little boy. Was she wrong, or was right but perhaps only at that moment?
All too often we take these labels and decide that they are a permanent description of who we are.
- I am a good person (how do you know you always will be?)
- I am a fast sprinter (will that always be the case?)
- I have high standards, and will never stay in a hotel with less than a 5-star rating (Never?)
When I coach people one on one, they normally approach me with a label that they have decided is permanent. They come up to me and say, ‘I am a terrible public speaker, I always make a fool of myself’ or ‘I have the worst bad luck, nothing ever goes right for me.’If you believe there is anything about your life on this earth that is permanent, then I want you to spend some time thinking about how that could be true in a world where it is impossible.
I apply this just as much to the ‘good stuff’ as the things we call ‘bad.’ I would call myself a ‘good parent,’ I love my children deeply and without question. However, I am willing to admit that at times I have made mistakes, given bad advice, shouted when I should have hugged and generally been a ‘bad’ parent. Especially during the challenging teenage years when my kids were striving to break free and be individuals. So which am I? ‘A bad parent’ or ‘a good parent?’
In reality, no label serves any useful purpose beyond the moment it is expressed.
If you believe there is anything about your life on this earth that is permanent, then I want you to spend some time thinking about how that could be true in a world where it is impossible. I apply this just as much to the ‘good stuff’ as the things we call ‘bad.’ I would call myself a ‘good parent,’ I love my children deeply and without question.
However, I am willing to admit that at times I have made mistakes, given bad advice, shouted when I should have hugged and generally been a ‘bad’ parent. Especially during the challenging teenage years when my kids were striving to break free and be individuals. So which am I? ‘A bad parent’ or ‘a good parent?’ In reality, no label serves any useful purpose beyond the moment it is expressed.
Good times will end, and life will blindside you with events that spoil the fun. During periods of dark times, the storm will come to an end, and bright sunshine will once again fill your life. This is the ebb and flow of the universe.
God will breathe in, and God will breathe out.
On the 4th July 2017, my ex-wife and the mother of my two children died suddenly.
Denise was only 50 years old when she died, and it was the most painful and traumatic event I have ever experienced. So many horrible things happened to our family that month. Having to tell my son that his mother had died was something that will always be an ugly scar in my memory.
The grieving process starts with denial and the first thing Jordan did when I told him was grab his cell phone to call his mother. My heart was breaking for him as I watch him refuse to accept what I was saying to him.
We all struggled to accept her death and stayed in denial for a very long time. When someone unexpectedly dies, it makes everything feel unreal, as though it is just a bad dream and soon we will wake up, and everything will go back to normal.
Death is something that we don’t talk about in western culture, and as such we are unprepared for it when it happens.
When someone gets ill and slowly starts to fade, while the final event is still painful at least the process gives us a chance to accept what is coming. Sudden death forces us to embrace something we spend most of our lives trying to pretend does not exist.
Yes, we all know that our loved ones are going to die, but we universally agree that this should happen in the future and never right now. But it has to happen ‘now’ for someone, and there is no getting away from the fact that if you are born, as sure as night follows day you will die.
Why do we have to die?
The simple answer is because we get to live. Immortality would render life meaningless, there would be no context to give it a point. Think about it; there wouldn’t even be a point to the word ‘alive’ if there was nothing else but ‘alive.’
The universe is in perfect balance, and this equilibrium is maintained without exception. The more we open ourselves up to pleasure, the more our capacity to suffer expands in equal measure. Or putting it in rather simpler terms, the higher we climb, the further we have to fall. This universal law is why people limit their potential so much, only the very few live an extraordinary life, and it is the unspoken fear of death that keeps us restricted.
For if you spend your time trying to avoid death, you will also end up avoiding life.
Not everyone attempts to deny the concept of death. Many people try to overcome the fear of death by leaping from planes and climbing mountains. Of course it provides a distraction, but in reality, it is just another way of avoiding accepting the end that will inevitably follow, and perhaps a lot quicker than it should if they keep jumping out of perfectly operational aircraft.
For the majority of society, the fear of dying is not a conscious thing. We can’t overcome the fear of death because it is a fear buried deep at the heart of their subconscious.
It presents itself by creating a scarcity mindset. The vast majority of people get stuck doing a job they don’t love, living for the weekend or their next vacation.
Life becomes about these brief moments of extravagance and not about the day to day. Unless you make peace with the concept of death, then to a lesser or greater extent, there will always be an underlying concern that life is pointless. With this at the back of their minds, people believe that happiness comes from external things, such as getting a new car or going on an expensive vacation. Happiness, peace, and purpose become not only an external destination but something in the future to aim for.
We get so distracted by what we think we need to be happy that we miss the moment in which we are living and in desperation to get to that future destination, we sell the one thing we can’t afford to lose: our time. We trade our time for dollars so that we may save up cash to buy the things and experiences that will ultimately fail to placate our anxiety. They can’t do anything but fail because they are merely deflections from the genuine concern.
You cannot have life unless you accept that with it, comes death. This is how the whole universe is balanced, and there is nothing that escapes this rule. Without loneliness, hate, and hostility we could not appreciate or give context to love. We want world peace, but it is impossible to find this utopia because it is a scenario that is out of balance.
What we still have not understood as a species, is the harder we try to force our will on the universe, the harder it will push back to maintain the equilibrium. Take for example ‘the war on terror,’ has it succeeded in destroying terrorism or does it appear to be getting worse?
Of course, it will get worse. The western world seems to be continuously hitting a revolving door, harder and harder and then getting angrier and angrier, because we keep getting hit in the back of the head!
Overcome The Fear of Death & Karma:
You may think this theory sounds familiar. This balance is often referred to as karma, but beyond Buddhist circles, you are more likely to see the concept of karma used as a threat. Certainly, if you observe social media, you will notice that karma seems to be more about revenge than it is about balance.
Someone will post a status complaining about being treated unjustly by another person, and a well-meaning friend will chip in with a ‘don’t worry honey, karma’s a bitch’ comment. This is not how karma works. I think this entirely misses the point and implies that God, the universe or whatever you want to call it, is someone or something on a mission to avenge misbehavior on our behalf.
As I mentioned before, the universe is a river, and if you jump in and consequently get knocked over by the rapids, it is not that the river wanted to punish you, but rather the result of your actions in applying force against the water and pushing in an opposing direction to the flow.
You might be wondering if it is true, that striving to create happiness will be automatically balanced with the potential for pain in an equal measure. Then, is it not better to do nothing and live with the hand that we are dealt? Don’t you see that this conclusion brings us back to the whole point of the book, to the reason that people stick in miserable jobs, living hand to mouth for a lifetime? If you avoid dealing with life, then you will also avoid dealing with death.
If you have a crappy job that you don’t like, then how much of a loss would it be if you got fired? Providing you could quickly replace it with another crappy job then it would be no loss at all, correct? But if you landed the opportunity to have the career you dreamed of since being a child, and get paid for it, then losing that would be painful and difficult to accept, would it not? But hopefully, you can see that sticking with the crappy job is not a route to happiness.
It may protect you from an event that may or may not happen, but in the process of constructing a safety net against your anxieties becoming solid, you also make yourself miserable as a by-product.
I want you to understand that I am not standing atop an ivory tower, dishing out this advice. I do not see our relationship as master and student. I believe we are kindred spirits making a journey together, learning and discovering together. I tell you honestly about my faults and past mistakes because I want you to know that you are not broken.
Our struggle to understand the gift of life is commonly shared and what I have discovered, is the more intelligence you have, the harder your struggle will be. I have often joked how wonderfully peaceful it must be to be blissfully stupid, but of course, I don’t aspire to achieve stupidity, that would be… stupid.
Passengers of life sit in the carriage with no idea how long the train journey is going to be. They cling to the assumption that happiness and peace lie at the end of the trip. Life’s drivers understand that success, peace, and purpose are encapsulated within the journey and are not a destination to arrive at one day.
Life is temporary, and you have no say in when the game is up.
I have a friend called Mark who infuriates me beyond words. He is the ultimate Scrooge McDuck. He never spends a penny; saving is an obsession for him. He pays the absolute maximum into his pension and his whole focus in life is to retire early and only then will he relax and enjoy himself.
Perhaps that sounds very sensible and admirable to you, but I have a massive problem with this way of thinking. It makes three dangerous assumptions, and you know what they say about assuming… it makes an ass of u and me.
Firstly, Mark’s plan assumes that happiness is a destination, this is always a colossal error. So many people have this delusion but in a different form. Passengers often believe that if they were only made partner at work, were to win the lottery or meet the man or woman of their dreams then finally they could be happy.
The truth is, if you are not content with life right now at this moment, then a change in external circumstance will make very little difference. Did you know that nearly 70% of people who were broke before a big lottery win will end up broke again within a decade? Unless you change the internal state of things, then any external input will be pointless.
My second problem with the ‘live miserable now, to live happy later’ way of thinking is it assumes that you will be around at this magical future date. My friend Mark has always wanted to retire at fifty, the same age that just took Denise. Yes, we all hope that death is some event way off in the distant future, but it doesn’t always work like that. Why not choose to be happy right now, after all, it is the only time that we can ever guarantee to be around for?
The third problem I have is that after spending fifty years living a life of scarcity, what makes you think you will be able to suddenly change? Habits are the things that we repeatedly do, and they get hard-wired into our brains.
Overcome the fear of death
Changing habits requires a dedicated and committed amount of effort. Imagine if I strapped your right hand behind your back for fifty years and then one day untied it and said ‘now you can use both hands,’ do you think anything would change? After fifty years of just using your left hand, the chances are good that you would continue to do so, even with the right available.
If you are serious about living an unstoppable life, then you must do the things that most people refuse to do. Start by accepting and embracing the temporariness of our existence.
Don’t push death away like some evil curse that only affects other people. One day you will die, and everything you ever worried about losing will be rendered irrelevant. If you knew for certain that tomorrow you would die, would you be able to accept that? Or would you be full of regret at the things you never did or said?
Overcome the fear of death! Do not die with your music still in you, share your passion, power, and love with the world now. Repeat this daily until the day you die.