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Death still is a taboo in our Western societies. It’s not omnipresent anymore as this was the case even a hundred years ago. We live longer and healthier lives, which is a bliss and the result of the economic, social and medical improvements of the 20th century. But yet, we all know that in the end…

the fault in our stars

My 13-year-old stepdaughter asked me if she could get the book ‘The fault in our stars’ by John Green and I happily bought it for her. She finished it within two days. When I asked her what it was about, she said: “it’s about a girl who has cancer that falls in love with a boy that has cancer, too.”



A life worth living

Applying my Signature Strength of curiosity, I dived in – and finished it in two days as well. And I admit, I had to cry a little, when the inevitable happened: one of the main characters died.

I’m emotional. When you are Living With Intensity (another fabulous book I wrote about at the end of this article) this is kind of ‘normal’ as I found out. I have many friends and several close family members who were diagnosed with cancer. Most of them are still alive. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront of many that they are mortal indeed (and that we don’t know how much longer we are going to live).

How can you not be afraid of dying?

This is my answer -not THE answer – because it’s tied to your spiritual and existential beliefs. You need not be afraid of dying if you live your life in Einstein Time, making consciously time every single day for the activities and people that matter most and that make your really happy.

The reality that your life will surely end can depress or scare you. It may also motivate you to gain clarity about what matters most and how you want to spend most of your time and energy.

The Fault in Our Stars, a tale of illness, death and suffering, inspired me to take action and to write the blog post ‘Start to flourish now – live your dreams’.


How to lead a fulfilling life

Have you been wondering about the big questions:

  • What am I doing here on this planet?
  • How do I cope with my mortality?
  • How can I be happy here and now despite suffering in the form of cancer, loss, deception, etc.?

Knowing your purpose and your mission is, in my opinion, the foundation of a fulfilling life. It gives you direction, it acts as a compass. Meaning is one of the five paths to well-being as described by positive psychology founder Martin Seligman in his book ‘Flourish’. Purpose and meaning enhance our lives.

Having a purpose in life has been cited consistently as an indicator of healthy ageing. Recent research points out that the feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may even help you live longer.

A mission furthermore makes you more resilient, it’s a driving force that helps you to cope with the vicissitudes of life and to link misfortune or difficulties of the present with the vision of your bright future.

Life is short – don’t wait to start thinking about the questions above, find your answers and take the necessary action steps NOW!


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This article was first published in 2014 and completely revised and updated in 2020.


Patricia Mauerhofer
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