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The Blueprint with Eliot Marshall

Oct 2, 2023

The ancient Stoic philosophers have a phrase that encapsulates the transience of life: “Memento Mori”, which translates to “Remember you will die.” While it may sound morbid at first glance, its meaning is deeply profound, urging us to live each day as if it were our last.

A few months ago, a personal incident involving my son's passion for basketball served as a perfect illustration of this philosophy.

  1. Life Lessons through Sports: After a mishap on the basketball court, where my son took his game for granted, we decided to temporarily withdraw his privilege to play. Our intent wasn’t just punitive; we wanted him to understand the value of what he loves, and that it can be taken away at any moment. This experience taught him to cherish each game, every practice, and every shot, reminding him that the next one isn't guaranteed.

  2. Appreciating the Now: The core idea behind Memento Mori is acknowledging life’s fragility. Every day, we move forward as though we have an infinite number of tomorrows. But in reality, every moment, every experience is fleeting. Recognizing this encourages us to live with intention, gratitude, and joy. It nudges us to savor our meals, cherish time with our loved ones, and truly immerse ourselves in our work.

  3. Beyond Materialism: In the grander scheme of things, wealth, status, and material possessions have limited significance. What truly matters is the richness of experiences, relationships, and the impact we make. Memento Mori urges us to redirect our focus from superficial gains to the deeper, more meaningful aspects of life.

  4. The Urgency of Now: Instead of viewing Memento Mori as a somber reminder of death, we can choose to see it as a call to action. It’s a motivator, pushing us to embrace every opportunity, to overcome procrastination, and to prioritize what truly matters. Every choice, every decision should resonate with our true purpose.

While it's inevitable that our time is limited, the essence of Memento Mori is not about fearing the end but cherishing the journey. Every day, every moment is an invaluable gift, urging us to make the most of it.

As you navigate the tapestry of life, let the ethos of Memento Mori guide you: Discover your passion, harness your power, and wholeheartedly offer your purpose to the world. Embrace the present, for it's the only true possession we have.