In ancient Rome, when a general would win a war or whatever and be paraded through the streets, they would pay a guy to follow the general around and whisper in his ear “Remember: you’re going to die.”

It’s a bit of a downer. I wonder if these guys who got paid to follow people around telling them they were mortal got invited to a lot of parties.

But downer or not, it’s true. It’s also easy to forget. The ancient Stoic philosophers loved this exercise. They took every opportunity they could to remind each other and everyone else who would listen that it was all going to go down in flames one day, and that it would probably happen uncomfortably soon and you’d better be ready for it.

They said it’d put everything else in perspective.

And when you listen to the stories of people who have had near-death experiences, they might have been on to something.