TEDx Talk

Rob Spencer MD Mindful Mortality TEDx Amoskeag Millyard


There is an audio problem with the video. TEDx folks are working on fixing the sound quality. In the mean time, it can be heard best on a computer rather than portable devices or by using headphones instead of speakers. Thank you for listening past the static!

[Click below to view Dr. Spencer’s TEDx Talk]  

Here are some questions to consider by yourself or discuss as a group after viewing the talk:

1. Where are you in your story, beginning, middle, or end?

2. Are you sure?

3. How long do you expect to live?

4. Are you “ready” to die?

5. Can you let go of the unimportant stuff and focus on what is really important to you?

6. What is really important to you?

7. If you haven’t thought about death, why wait?

8. What does it mean to live as fully as possible?

9. Do you really believe you are going to die?

10. If so, how does that knowledge affect the way you live your life?

11. Think about your activities over the past week, while being mindful of your mortality. Would you choose to spend your time differently?

12. If so, on average, how many hours per day would you spend differently

13. How many years of your life can you reclaim? Use the following formula:

[(age you expect to die) –  (current age)] x (hours per day would spend differently)
divide by 24

14. Will you remember to “take a dose of time every morning” and then be intentional about how you spend it?

15. What can you do to help you remember?

16. How can you spend your time in ways that make you happiest?

17. Do you spend any of your time for the benefit of others rather than just yourself?

18. In what specific ways you do spend time for the benefit of others now?  Could you do it more in the future?

19. Fill in the blank: “I can’t find joy if I’m struggling with _____.”  (For example, work, school, family, injury, illness….  List as many as you can.)

20. Have you experienced “bitter-sweet” moments in your life, joy and sorrow at the same time?  List as many as you can.

21. Picture a specific time of in your life that was really bad.  At that moment, could you imagine it getting better?  Could you imagine it getting worse?

22. What does the story about the man running from the tiger mean to you?

23. Have you ever felt like you were metaphorically “hanging from the cliff,” stuck between an intolerable past and an unacceptable future?

24. If so, were you able to find a “strawberry” to pick, something to appreciate even in the difficulty of the moment.  Were you able to taste the sweetness?

25. Can you find opportunities in your life (small or larger difficulties) where you can try practicing each of the “three techniques,” (1) imagining a better future and perhaps a path toward that future; (2) picturing it being worse but then finding joy in remembering it’s not as bad as it could be; (3) if you are stuck, unable to do either #1 or #2, find something to appreciate.

26. What gives your life meaning or purpose?

27. In difficult times, can you cherish your freedom of choice, to dwell in the wonder, and savor your curiosity of what will happen next?

28. Do you find humor and laughter even among the tears?

29. Do you embrace the fact that you are a part of something greater than yourself? What is that something?

30. Do you feel connected to those you love?

31. How has your meaning or purpose changed over time? What was it in the past? What is it now? And what might it be in the future?

32. If you had died yesterday, how would you be remembered?

33. How do you want to be remembered?

34. Are you living the way you would like to be remembered?

35. If not, how can you “alter your story” and write your own next chapter?