For some it’s depressing; for others, it’s a powerful call to action.
It was featured recently in a New York Times article entitled “The TickTock of the Death Clock” written by Steven Petrow, an author and former editor now in his mid-fifties. The death clock exercise helped him put his life in perspective and led him to make some radical changes for the better in his life.
When he first learned that he probably only had another 18 years to live, he was troubled. But then, after lots of thinking, he decided to make some changes that has resulted in a joy of living that never existed before. After quickly deciding to quit his full-time job, this is what he was thinking:
I’ve got only one life to live, and if I don’t do it now, when? I couldn’t sleep the next few nights, the loud echoes of my naysayers circling through my head. But over the weeks that followed, things began to shift. I started to get new assignments and finished up a book proposal. I’d get up at 5 a.m. as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. I felt a new sense of ownership, joy and meaning to my days. This wasn’t my work, it was my life. And I didn’t just like it – I loved it.
Of course, I know I won’t spend the rest of my days in this state of euphoria. I will struggle with blank pages and intermittent paychecks. But I will appreciate each day more.
More on the Death Clock. It takes less than a minute for the online Death Clock (link below) to project the exact date that you will likely die—along with how many seconds you have left to live. It computes both based on the following:
- Your sex and current age
- Your BMI
- Your smoking status
- Your general outlook on life
In my case, I learned that even though I am much older than Petrow, I am expected to live nine years longer than his projected 18. To be exact, the clock projected that I would meet the grim reaper on the day after Christmas in the year 2040—at the ripe old age of 95. Happy Holidays to me!
The clock projected that I have well over 800 million seconds remaining—and even features a count-down digital clock, showing those precious seconds ticking away. After doing the exercise, like Petrow, I chose to look on the bright side and use the information to motivate me to do much more with the time that I have remaining.
The Bottom Line. Lying in bed a few nights ago, I was thinking that I probably only have around ten or fifteen solid work years left. That would put me at 83.
And although I expect to get a lot done between 83 and 95, it has been my observation that the elderly are simply not taken that seriously after a certain age. Sad, but true.
So as I lay there, I decided that I needed to accelerate my pace on three things: my public speaking career, my corporate wellness business, and my grand plan for helping to facilitate an “asteroid” type of global project to prevent the collapse of our civilization before the end of this century. Why would I think that I can make a difference on something that important? Two reasons:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead
People who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world—are the ones who do. — Steve Jobs
I will leave you with two questions. How many years do you have left? What are you going to do with those years?
Want to help spread the word? Call me at 917-399-9700 if you’d like me to speak at your venue. That’s one thing that you can do to help our “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” accomplish the audacious goal of ensuring the longterm sustainability of our species.
Not sure about the possible collapse of our civilization? You might want to read Lester Brown’s new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates. Here’s an excerpt:
While the decline of early civilizations can be traced to one or possibly two environmental trends such as deforestation and soil erosion that undermined their food supply, we are now dealing with several. In addition to some of the most severe soil erosion in human history, we are also facing newer trends such as the depletion of aquifers, the plateauing of grain yields in the more agriculturally advanced countries, and rising temperature.
- Source article. The Ticktock of the Death Clock – NYTimes.com.
- The Death Clock can be found at deathclock.com
- My blog that features the “asteroid type” project for preventing the collapse of our civilization. Posted on July 8, 2013.
- More info on Lester Brown’s book.
- Earlier blog on longevity. How long would you like to live?
- My public speaking page.
- My corporate wellness page.
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation