Developing the skill of Memento Mori – “remember that you will die”
I was broke, unhappy, and ready to give up on life.
I was drowning in debt thanks to law school.
I made shit money.
But I really wanted to be an entrepreneur.
For years, every angel investor, venture capitalist, accelerator, and bank I encountered rejected my business plan.
They thought my startup was a horrible idea.
That no one would use it.
These failures pushed me into a deep alcohol-fueled state of depression.
At night I would go out to escape reality but when I’d come home I’d hammer out some new features to the site.
When I eventually ran out of going out money, I would torrent autobiography books of successful tech entrepreneurs from the Internet.
I treated these books like they were my friends.
I learned that most startups failures result from entrepreneurs who make more excuses than products.
More importantly, that sometimes shit is fucked up and we have to become better at handling adversity than trying to be “positive” all the time.
When I was just about ready to give up, a friend took a gamble on me, and invested a very small amount into my company.
He must’ve felt really bad for me and took a huge gamble.
It was the first real shot I had ever gotten, and, I realized probably the only one that I’d ever get.
Upon signing the convertible note, I launched v.1 of LawTrades in two weeks.
I went on to growing the company to 15 full-time employees, raised an additional $2.6M from leading venture capitalists, and saved businesses millions of dollars in legal fees using our technology.
It wasn’t all the positive self help books, or productivity hacks, or life advice that helped me achieve my wildest dreams..
It was realizing that we have a finite amount of time left on this earth and we must focus on what is true, immediate, and important.
Below is is a great illustration that puts that idea into perspective. If you’re lucky you probably have around 60 superbowls left to watch.
So how did I make it happen for myself?
By being comfortable with myself as a failure and sharing that with unflinching hesitation or doubt.
Everything worthwhile doing in life will always be associated with harsh negative experiences.
To stare down at all of these challenges and still take action is what will make all the difference in your life.
The fact is you’re going to die one day.
And so will everyone around you.
Yet most people feel like they’re going to live forever.
That is probably why people:
- Work half-assedly
- Care about everything and everyone without conscious thought
- Binge-watch Netflix
- Max out our credit cards
You will regularly fail.
That’s not the point.
The most worthy struggle one can undertake in life is to learn how to focus and prioritize you thoughts effectively by remembering that you are mortal – Memento Mori.