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I’ve been thinking a lot about my own mortality recently and how I can use it as motivational fuel. When I was younger, I used to have panic attacks thinking about death—ask Grandma Turner, my mother, sister, etc. As I’m maturing, my comfortability with this certainty has become a source of inspiration.

Someone I admire always says that we should make decisions based on the last years of our life instead of the next ten.

After graduating from Middlebury and starting my career I went in for a health check. The doctor told me that I would be doing myself a lot of favours in the long run if I committed to losing weight. At the time I was 22 years old, 5’11, 195 lbs and had pretty high blood pressure. He said that as I approached my thirties, my testosterone levels were likely to decrease and weight would become increasingly harder to lose. At 22, 30 years old seemed lightyears away.

It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I began to take my weight loss seriously. I was tired of going to the gym and pushing weights around—this was my “job” most of my life as a hockey player. I had already compartmentalised what I learned from hockey and the ancillary weightlifting seemed more of a burden than a chance to better my well-being. A boxing gym opened across from the gym I was attending in Sheffield so I decided to give that a go.

What I love about it is the fact that it’s an intense workout that’s competitive in nature. When I began sparring after a few months it became clear that boxing is a “vehicle for developing our human potential.” I learned that there’s a direct correlation “between positive energy and positive results in the physical form.”[1] As the weight began coming off, I felt I was able to deal with situations with increased calmness and resolve.

It couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life as I prepare to marry Maggie, my beautiful wife to-be. I want to be an excellent husband and she deserves the best version of myself. By confronting the reality of our own mortality, we allow ourselves to obliterate all the crappy, fragile and superficial values in life. I think many marriages lose sight of this and subsequently fail as a result. In marriage and in life I think we must “let mortality be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions.”[2] I choose to take responsibility for the fact that I’m part of a larger entity—something greater than myself. We’re not alone, isolated in tiny bubbles, only living for ourselves. We have wives, husbands, girlfriends, sisters, etc. If we don’t have living and breathing genetic family and friends we still have the chance to influence others—to leave things better than we found them.

I think one of the greatest ways to measure the effectiveness of a life is by funeral attendance. I’ll never forget the amount of people that showed up to Corey Griffin’s funeral—it was one of the most inspirational moments of my life. A life taken too early and yet thousands of people showed up to pay their respects. Influence is leadership and Corey clearly influenced many.

I want to squeeze every ounce I can out of this life and inspire others along the way. The prospect of death doesn’t scare me; it fuels me to be better. We are not entitled to tomorrow—it’s a gift we can cherish or allow it to squander.

“The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” Chuck Palahniuk

[1] Joe Rogan Podcast

[2] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK. Pg 200.

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