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Live Fully, Die Mindfully: The Dual Wisdom of Memento Mori and Memento Vivere
Navigating Life’s Highs and Lows with Two Timeless Philosophies You Should Know
As someone passionate about life's larger questions—ranging from sales strategy to the quest for happiness—I've often sought guiding philosophies to give me a framework for living a fulfilling life. That's when I stumbled upon two seemingly contradictory yet deeply complementary Latin phrases: "Memento Mori" and "Memento Vivere."
Memento Mori: The Wake-Up Call We All Need
"Memento Mori" is Latin for "remember that you will die," a phrase that initially seems morbid or depressing. Yet, when I dug deeper, I discovered that it's a tool to snap us out of complacency. It serves as a humbling reminder that our time on this Earth is limited.
For me, Memento Mori was like a splash of cold water to the face, making me reflect on my priorities. In my career as a Sales and Process Consultant, I found myself reevaluating my strategy and decision-making process. If time is finite, then each moment spent working with my clients or crafting solutions needed to be well-utilized. Suddenly, procrastination wasn't just a minor character flaw; it was a leak in the bucket of my finite time.
Memento Vivere: The Joyous Counterpart
As I was aligning my sails to the winds of "Memento Mori," I encountered its optimistic counterpart: "Memento Vivere," which translates to "remember to live." This phrase was the golden light at the end of a tunnel, a reminder that while life is short, it's also filled with countless possibilities for joy, love, and fulfillment.
"Memento Vivere" taught me to appreciate the day-to-day experiences, whether it was the thrill of closing a challenging deal or spending quality time with my family. It encouraged me to actively pursue my hobbies and interests—from playing pinball to getting lost in a captivating spy thriller like a Jason Bourne movie.
The Harmonious Marriage of Two Philosophies
I soon realized that these two ancient phrases were far from contradictory; they were two sides of the same coin. While "Memento Mori" urged me to not waste time, "Memento Vivere" reminded me of what not to waste time on. Both messages had a crucial role to play in creating a life that was both meaningful and enjoyable.
As I go about my daily life—balancing work, family, and personal interests—I find myself leveraging the wisdom of both philosophies. Before diving into a new project or setting a long-term goal like reaching a million people with my message, I take a moment to remember my mortality ("Memento Mori"). This gives me a sense of urgency, a drive to act now. Then, as I embark on the journey to achieve that goal, "Memento Vivere" steps in to remind me to relish the process and savor the steps along the way.
A Personal Blueprint for Living and Leading
Leadership, another area close to my heart, has also been greatly influenced by these philosophies. "Memento Mori" serves as a sobering reminder that the opportunity to lead and make an impact is not everlasting. Meanwhile, "Memento Vivere" ensures that I celebrate the small victories and cherish the experiences that come with the role of being a leader.
These phrases have become my personal blueprint for a fulfilling life, serving as reminders that both the journey and the destination are important. They've added depth to my work, enriched my family life, and even reinvigorated my hobbies and interests.
As I continue to strive toward my goals—whether it's selling 10,000 copies of my future book or owning a lava orange Porsche—I am guided by the combined wisdom of "Memento Mori" and "Memento Vivere." In acknowledging the finite nature of life while actively choosing to live it fully, I've found a harmonious guide to navigate the complexity and beauty of human existence.
So, as you go about your day, pondering the larger questions or simply enjoying a Ted Lasso episode, remember these ancient phrases. They just might provide the balanced perspective you didn't know you were seeking.