Nothing Focuses The Mind Like The Ultimate Deadline: Death
NPR. December 31, 2013
Your estimated time of death is, of course, just that — an estimate.
Tikker uses an algorithm like the one used by the federal government to figure a person’s life expectancy. But the effect is chilling, a sort of incessant grim reaper reminding you that time is running out.
Tikker’s inventor is a 37-year-old Swede named Fredrik Colting. He says he invented the gadget not as a morbid novelty item, but in an earnest attempt to change his own thinking.
He wanted some sort of reminder to not sweat the small stuff and reach for what matters.
Colting, a former gravedigger, figured imminent death was the best motivator there is.
That’s why he calls Tikker “the happiness watch.” It’s his belief that watching your life slip away will remind you to savor life while you have it.
there is some evidence for his point of view. A 2009 study showed that thinking about death makes you savor life more.
And a 2011 study has shown that thinking about death makes you more generous, more likely to donate your blood.
But that’s not the whole story. A whole dark underbelly of research suggests that thinking about our own mortality can bring out the worst in us.
The work of Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon and Tom Pyszczynski — grandfathers of an idea in social psychology called terror management theory — has shown that thinking about death makes us, well, pretty xenophobic.
When confronted with our mortality, we cling to those like us and disparage those who are different.
Now, why do you get both positive and negative effects? Well, that’s an open question in science right now.
the watch will be available in April 2014
Life Expectancy Calculator
another post on Terror Management Theory: