The Community Speaks: Your Answers to ‘If You Could Know the Date of Your Death, Would You Want to Know?’

  • Earlier this week in response to Today’s Brilliance by Michael Bungay Stanier, I asked our family the question, “If you could know the date of your death, would you want to know?”

    The reactions were very interesting. Almost 2/3rds of those who commented on the main blog and on Twitter said “NO”, about 5% said maybe, and the remaining 1/3  responded with “YES”. The average age of those who responded with “No” was more than 10 years younger than those who responded with “Yes”.  Perhaps as we age the date or our demise would be easier or more advantageous to know?

    Many of you asked me how I would answer this question. Although I can see benefits to many of the reasons for the “Yes” and the “No” answers included on the blog or in the tweets, I think I would lean more towards “Yes” for several reasons.

    We say we live each day like it’s our last, but most of us really don’t. If we really did, the word ‘worry’ wouldn’t be in our vocabulary. Think about it…. if you knew you only had a week left here on Earth, would you spend any time worrying about anything?

    Most of us expect to live a long, fulfilled life and therefore we put off a lot of things until ‘someday’. When you go on vacation you manage to schedule the things that you want to do or see into the week because you know how long you have to do so. Therefore, I think if we knew we only had 40 or 50 years we would spend them more wisely and place a higher value on those days than we do when we think they are endless.

    – And for all those who commented that  “It would be too stressful to know”, I only have one question for you. Don’t you already know now, to a certain degree? We have the benefit of statistics to tell us that most of us won’t live past 80, so you’re probably not booking a lot of events or vacations now for when you’re in your 90’s or 100’s.

    But, all of this is kind of a moot point, because we can’t know, and in that, there is  magic. For me, the secret is to truly live and appreciate each day as if it could be our last, cherish our relationships by letting others know how much they mean to us, practice forgiveness, celebrate each moment for the gift that it is, don’t take anything for granted and don’t wait until ‘someday’ to do the things on your bucket list. If we live by these principals then it won’t matter if we know the date or not, for our lives will be rich and blessed everyday.

    Thanks to all who contributed to the blog and answered via Twitter. Should you wish to add your comments below, know that you are welcome to do so.

    Here are the responses from Twitter:

    Mteninty Yes! 39

    wewriteonyou Yes

    Jenom I vote yes

    LibanaMusic Yes! an extra piece of the puzzle.

    AnnaKDeLeo No!!! 28. I think we need to live in the moment, no matter what.

    Gis4Girl Aabsolutely not. I’m 35.

    hprog No. 33.

    castleview NO!  65yrs.

    KelByrd Definitely not. (No) 23 years old.

    missphenom No because what if you do not die that day? Also your focus will be on your death date instead of the days you are alive.

    RobertHruzek What whack job would really want to know that? Yeesh! 🙂

    angelmarie_3 I’m 18, and nope I wouldn’t wanna know. 🙂 I live everyday like it could be my last.

    ElizabethPW My answer is no. because I live life as if I will die today and as if I will live forever.

    kayabayb No, 23

    BrettBorders NO, 33

    ChebbiPon NO. I don’t want to know  date of my death. Whatever happens, happens.. What matters most is how you live your life so far.

    calichiny No way // age :24

    KarenAngstadt I’m 36 & I’ll continue ur trend. NO. I’d rather get 2 experience practice of living in the moment w/o knowing.

    chris_tate24 No, I wouldn’t want to know, age 43. I think it would paralyze me and not allow me to live as I would have.

    AMerems No I want to live each day! As if it was my last!!

    sagesayings NO! 40

    missgblog No & Yes, I would want to know an approximate ammnt of time so I could live life like it were my last.(but not exact day)

    ellenfweber Gr question. I’d need to reflect the ethics and all pros/cons before I decide:-)Each day we should live as if the last. It could be toxic for person’s who struggle at times with moods and good to stir up those who move slowly on life issues:-)

    Thanks again to all who commented here, on Twitter and on the main blog. I greatly appreciate your being a part of the community.

    Big hugs and love,


    Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of, bringing the best inspiration to the world. provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter. Prior to, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006. Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love. Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

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