4 min read

5 Life Altering Takeaways From The Top TED Talks On Death

Want to yield some wisdom or advice in the face of death but don’t have time to trawl through the talks? We offer an espresso version of the best TED talk takeaways for this topic. So whether it's to help yourself or a friend, read on to gain the wisdom of 5 masterminds in just one coffee break.

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  1. “Talk About Death While You’re Still Healthy” by Michelle Knox

The best form of will writing procrastination might just be the one that motivates you to finish it. Michelle talks importance of making your will, sharing your end of life wishes and planning your funeral ahead to ensure you're remembered in alignment with what's important to you.

This talk shifts how you think about a ‘good death’ in terms of an end aligned with your wishes, whilst also reminding you this doesn’t happen by accident. It takes preparation and paperwork, it takes confronting death as a reality and it takes conversations which are honest and open. Whether it’s to allow you to die peacefully at home, or have your organs used to help save others, these important details could be missed if we’re passive about death during our life.

On the flip side, Michelle makes the point that planning ahead facilitates a guilt-free grieving process for your loved ones, absent of the fear of having failed to honour your legacy. Ultimately highlighting the benefit of not shying away from death, for yourself and those you care about the most.

2. What really matters at the end of life | B J Miller | TED talks

This one reminds us to honour life in end of life care. It’s on treating people (with love, uniqueness and dignity), rather than disease. On finding ‘beauty or meaning in what life you have left’ through using our senses to feel connected.

In rethinking and setting out redesign ambitions for palliative care, this talk is helpful for planning your own future or a current family member’s present palliative care. Ultimately reminding us to honour the meaning of all moments which make up life.

3. What's wrong with dying? | Lesley Hazleton | TEDx Seattle

Hazleton considers the meaningless nature of a reality where we actually live forever. Where an abundance of time would suck the meaning from life and the value from our choices. She posits that ‘uncertainty touches the best of what is human in us’ - this idea that death is the ultimate motivator to do anything with life. In embracing the temporary nature of our reality, we’re reminded to live fully and safeguard our futures with the knowledge that death comes to us all.

4. My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDx MidAtlantic

Living at the age of 17 with a rare life limiting disease that causes premature ageing, Sam Berns shares his simple philosophy for a happy life:

  • Be grateful for all that we do have

  • Surround yourself with uplifting people

  • Keep moving forwards, keep striving & keep trusting there's a bright future ahead

Living with the reality of imminent death provided great wisdom to Sam Berns at his tragically young age. But watching this talk, we were struck by how these death reminders can positively reshape how we live. Offering more hope than fear, and choice than disempowerment in the brave face of our inevitable end.

5. Eulogies for the living | Andrea Driessen | TEDxSeattle

Andrea shares her experiences as a hospice volunteer worker, a grieving daughter and someone who found comfort in reading her father his own eulogy before he died. She advocates gratitude, openness and not leaving it until death to express how much you appreciate someone.

This talk got us rethinking honouring a loved one, when they’re still here. About how we can reduce regret experienced in grief, by saying the things we’ll later wish we’d expressed earlier. She argues it's a practice which grants completeness for you, and immense comfort for your loved one. Yes it might be uncomfortably confronting of death and yes it goes against the grain of how we traditionally think about eulogies. But it also might just bring some positivity, some light and some deeper connections when faced with the prospect of losing someone.

Do Something Today for Future You

Don't let a fear or resentment of death get in the way of what a good end looks like for you. Get started on your Safewill estate plan today with a one-to-one call on on 1800 10 33 10 with one of our experts, or start a live chat today.

Last updated 18th December 2022
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Hannah Comiskey
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