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How Thinking About Your Funeral can Help You Today

The coffin passes by.

Sad family walking behind.

Slowly putting one foot –

In front of the other.

Emotion takes over my body.

I feel a tear gliding off my cheek.

Memories of joy play in my mind.



What a contrast.

My former football trainer on his way to his grave.

Not just a football trainer.

A motivator.

A people grower.

An optimist.

“Look at the weather forecast, a matchday full of sun! 

The perfect conditions for a win.”

“Look at the weather forecast, it will rain the whole day! 

That’s great: an excellent setting for sliding tackles.”

His words.

A metaphor for his philosophy in the 62 years he lived.

For me, the funeral was not just a moment of grief and a painful goodbye.

I also had the realization that life doesn’t last forever.

But in line with the philosophy of my football trainer, there is always a positive side.

Funeral exercise

In his famous book, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes a powerful exercise: visualize your own funeral.

Imagine all your friends and family coming together.

One by one they go up to the stage to say something about you.

What kind of person were you to them?

What is the life you have lived?

Then, take an honest look at the way you’re living your life right now. Are you doing what is most important to you?

I find it depressing to think about my own funeral.

However, the exercise of Stephen Covey is a powerful one.

  • Do you want to become the CEO of a technology company?

  • Volunteer and support the elderly?

  • Being a family person, always bringing people together?

It helps to increase your self-awareness, so you can take action accordingly.

Because that will lead to you becoming the finest version of yourself.

Contributing to the world with your unique mix of talents and interests.

How it helped me

This exercise helped me in various ways.

  • In making more time for my parents.

  • Learning Spanish.

  • Doing sports more often.

  • Shutting down distractions to be more productive at work.

  • Becoming more confident and helping others on their path of personal growth.

  • Choosing activities I enjoy instead of what others expect.

In this world of constant stimulation,

It’s easy to get pulled away from what matters most to me.

And to just go with the flow.

Living my life.

Without realizing it’s not my own life that I am living –

But instead, a life orchestrated by others.

While visualizing my funeral sounded awful,

it helped to gain a clearer perspective of my priorities so I can conduct the orchestra myself.

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