Why Am I so Afraid of Death? Replacing Fear with Motivation

Pitter Patter... Pitter Patter... The obnoxious sound of my black matte Timberland boots connecting with the tiled ground of Melbourne Central Train Station. Oblivious, I continue my excited march onward. As you raise your eyes following the skinny white cord from pocket to ear holes you soon see the reason for my lack of awareness to sound. 'Why's this guy so f*cking happy.' You think to yourself.

As I make my way to work my ears are greeted with the motivating realness of Rihanna as she blasts her lines in the Lemon remix by Drake. 'I get it how I live it, I live it how I get it.' A line that resonates deeply with my new mindset. 'Ohhh Baby I am f*cking amped for the day.'

I round the corner as I enter the Emporium, practically running and laughing with joy at my opportunity to crush another day and move a step closer to my goals and ambitions. I notice my colleagues standing in a huddle, 'Why aren't they at work?' I think to myself. Actually.. 'Why is everyone standing around?'

As I remove myself from my make shift audio VR world, the white cords dropping onto my chest. I finally understand that something is very wrong. I notice the police tent, I notice the blood & I notice the despair and distress on the faces around me. 'What happened?' I ask my colleague. A shaky voice responds almost unwillingly, 'A guy just killed himself. He jumped off the top floor... He was 20 years old.'

Like a crash test dummy in a 100km/h airbag test, my unwavering drive to 'Own the Day' collides head on with the brick wall. My airbag does not deploy and the all to familiar reminder of death drills its way into my soul. Despair washes over me like the icy waters of a frozen lake as I think to myself almost aloud, 'What is the F*CKING point!'

Death. We all have it in common & none of us can escape it, so why are we so afraid to talk about it? A woman/man that can no longer fear death will truly be able to harness their full potential in life. 'So how can I replace my fear of death with the motivation to make my life count?'

Let's figure it out together.

Without death life means nothing. Cherish your opportunity.

Without death life means nothing. Cherish your opportunity.

Today we explore Death and how to transform your deep fear of this unknown space into a powerful tool to motivate your success in Life. I will split the blog up into three actionable steps that have helped me completely remove my fear of death. I no longer look at death with fear, I now see it as a continuous motivator to live the best life I possibly can. I hope they do the same for you.

- J -

Step 001 - Face Your Fear Head On

Run into the F*cking brick wall mate! No I am not saying to do something stupid that could kill you. It's a Metaphor champion! I am saying that in order to remove your fear you need to face the reality that it WILL happen one day. But first.. a story of my own.

I think the year was 2014. I was deep into the White Water Kayaking scene but like most young up and comers I was delusional about my actual abilities. I had just kayaked over Wairua Falls, close to Whangarei in  Northland, New Zealand. The first run had been a raging success and I was fired up for the second run.

Oh, I should also mention that the river was in flood and running at three times the recommended levels... I was dumb in 2014! 

I had a bloody lip and my face hurt a bit from the impact of my cockpit smacking into my face after a 20 metre free fall. But my adrenaline masked the slight dizziness and spurred me onward as I made my way to the get in point for my second run.

The line was perfect and as I rounded the lip of the waterfall and stared at my landing point I thought to myself, 'I f*cking nailed it.' And I would have, had i not lost my paddle on impact and failed my hand roll three times. I had no choice to swim and as I surfaced and watched my friends throwbag drift hopelessly out of my reach I new I was in some serious trouble.

I was headed straight into class V rapids. For those who are unaware of river grading class V is serious stuff. I submerged multiple times and as my eyes started to go dark and the cold feeling of death washed over me my hand landed on a stray log. I latched on with all my might and hauled my crumpled ego onto the shore.

Over my lifetime I have faced death several times but it was not until I got my ass dumped by the girl I thought would see me through to the death bed that I truly faced my own mortality. Being dumped was the catalyst in a series of close calls with death, a key ingredient that forced me to face my ridiculous fear head on and make peace with it.

The good news for you is you don't have to have a near death experience to face your fear of death. Here are some steps you can take, steps that may seem counter intuitive but if you stick with them they can remove that restrictive fear once and for all.

  • At some point during your morning routine picture your own death. Imagine yourself falling, being shot, being hit by a bus, whatever it is that you fear so much. It is going to suck at first and you are probably going to cry and feel like sh*t. But commit and really take the time to see it, to face it, to visualize that one day it will happen. Keep visualizing until the fear drops away and it is replaced with a content understanding of your imagined situation.

  • Straight after you finish facing off against death stand in front of the mirror or write down on a piece of paper every single thing that makes you feel grateful in life. It could be, your family, your passions, your friends, the roof over your head, your wife, your kids or maybe even your job.

  • Now go for a run or do some exercise to get those positive vibes running through your brain. Play your favourite tunes to really make those grateful vibes sink in.

  • Follow it up with a cold as f*ck shower. Your alive baby and you just faced off against death.. not that bad is it.

Step 001 - Face your fear of Death head on every single day until it becomes just another part of life. Eventually your visualizations will no longer bring on thoughts of fear they will instead trigger an intense feeling of gratitude for your opportunity to live.

Step 002 - Find out What Truly Matters to You

High on Life. Have you heard the name? Probably not, but if you have you will know that they inspired millions to chase their passions and live life without fear. To live a life dedicated to what truly matters to you.

They did this not by preaching the message but by living their own versions of a life that truly mattered in their eyes. By doing so they made a huge impact on the world, contributing in a positive way and building an incredible community.

Three of High on Life's main contributors died on the 3rd of July 2018 in a tragic accident. It is an incredible loss for their families and the world. However these three amazing humans did more for the world and experienced more enlightenment and happiness than 90% of people alive today. Why & How?

Simple - They did not strive for the material or the quick fix. They did what truly mattered to them and they did it in a way that would positively contribute to the world long after they passed away.

Take some time on Step 002. Write down everything that has meaning in your life & figure out exactly what it is that you want to die knowing you achieved. Then commit to achieving that it in some way every single day!

Base your values and life metrics around whatever it is that you decide matters to you. If you need help figuring out how to measure your daily success check out this blog:

Am I successful? Applying Better Values & Metrics for a Successful Life

There is not much more I can tell you for step 002 because what truly matters to you will be different to what truly matters to me. You need to figure this one out for yourself.

Step 002 - Find out what truly matters to you. The thing that you can't go a single day without thinking about. Then pour your energy into achieving it in a small way every single day.

Step 003 - Death is Inevitable! Legacy is Lasting!

Stop letting Death hold you hostage! Now that you no longer have an irrational fear of death and you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve its time to look death in the face and say F*CK YOU Bro! You ain't stopping me anymore because I don't fear you.

Now please DON'T take this to the extreme and start trying to fly or stop moving traffic, it is important to have a healthy respect for death. Just don't let it influence your decisions anymore.

In Step 001 you learned to understand and accept death this alone should have removed all the superficial bullsh*t you used to hold in high regard. Understanding how fragile you truly are helps you understand what truly matters. Which is what you discovered in step 002.

Chances are what truly matters to you has something to do with the legacy that you want to leave behind. What truly matters to you may be, creating a family and raising incredible children. Children that will essentially be your legacy.

What truly matters to you might be, positively influencing the people around you and across the world through your creations. That my friend is your legacy. At the end of the day your legacy is the only thing that lives on after your physical body dies.

What is it you want to be remembered for? Do you want to be remembered as an ego driven douche bag that wanted to build a wall between your country and Mexico? Or do you want to be remembered as someone that changed the world in positive way?

Step 003 - Leave the most positive legacy you can. A legacy that lives up to what you truly want out of your life and a legacy that contributes to the betterment of this incredible universe that you call home.

Make positive contributions to those around you and leave a legacy you can be proud of.

Make positive contributions to those around you and leave a legacy you can be proud of.

If you can replace your fear of death with an understanding that it is all just part of living. If you can find what truly matters to you & live by it daily. If you can build a legacy that contributes to your passions, values & community (no matter the size) long after you die.

Well my friend you have all the motivation you need to embrace death as an inevitable ending to your incredible life! Remember without death life would cease to amaze & excite us.

Hope this blog helps you in some small way. Let us know if you have any of your own ideas on this topic in the comments below.

Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques