By Carson King
Updated: February 15, 2021
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Everyone knows what an epitaph is. They spam graveyards, mark historical monuments, and are made to be permanent. There’s a reason you don’t see epitaphs written on a piece of paper and stapled to a hunk of granite.
One of life’s greatest honors is writing your own epitaph. It’s the art of choosing what you want to be remembered for. It’s about being the architect of your life, rather than the observer.
It’s your secret weapon against the world.
- You can choose what you want to be remembered for
- Your epitaph becomes your “North Star”
- By reviewing your epitaph daily, you review your purpose daily
It can literally change everything.
Your body will spend 99.99% of its time underground
Nobody likes to think about it . . . but you will die one day.
Your body—the same one you’re using to read this blog—will spend 99.99% of all its time underground. In a casket. This small, hardly measurable .001% of “life” is beyond precious. It’s irreplaceable.
Your epitaph can be a powerful tool—one that can guide you your entire life. In a way, your epitaph is your life thumbnail. It’s what you lived and died for.
A daily purpose
“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.”
Your epitaph isn’t just the frosting to your life, it’s the recipe.
It’s about living up to your epitaph—about deserving it.
Imagine the day you die: a permanent stone is raised over your dead body saying, “Here lies (name), who pushed life beyond all the boundaries.”
To make the most of your epitaph, remember:
- Review it constantly. Daily, weekly
- Don’t be afraid to change it. Life changes, and it’s ok to modify your epitaph
- Write it somewhere visible: a vision board, bathroom mirror, or note pinned on KeepNotes
- Live by it
An epitaph is the “source code” of your life. Everything revolves around it. To put it simply, it’s why you wake up each morning.
Inspiration from the dead
Below are inspirational epitaphs, written by some of the world’s most famous people. If I can’t convince you to write an epitaph, maybe they can.
John Wayne 1907-1979
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes into us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
Martin Luther King. Jr 1929-1968
“Free at last. Free at last.
Thank God Almighty
I’m Free at last.”
Frank Sinatra 1915-1998
“The best is yet to come.”
Hans Albert Einstein 1904-1973
“A life devoted to his students, research, music and nature.”
Where to start?
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
It may seem overwhelming to write something so important. After all, it sums up your entire life.
So, where to start?
- Think simple. What really matters to you?
- What are some life mottos you live by?
- What inspires you?
- Why are you here?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What do you live—and die—for?
- How can you change the world?
Don’t push this off. Your epitaph is your life mission, your highest ambition—the reason you’re here. Don’t live without it.