In martial arts, instructors teach us to punch and kick through our target. Instead of aiming for the bullseye on the kicking pad, we're told to aim for the area six inches behind it so that when our fist or foot comes into contact with the pad, we won't slow down or hold back our strength.
This lesson is especially important when learning to break bricks. If we don't drive through the area that appears to be the stopping point, the bricks won't break; our fist will.
In life, we need to aim for something beyond the stopping point of death. We need to aim for targets and goals that we cannot actually realize within our lifetimes but which through aiming for will ensure that our potential is fully realized.
If we go through life undervaluing our potential and holding back, our life will be filled with waypoints of disappointment and a sense of loss will accompany the passing of each easily achievable goal as we release it to continue moving forward.
If instead we set goals with the understanding that we're capable of so much more, then our short-term goals will feel more like meaningful steps along the path and the achievement of those goals will come with a sense of joy, fulfillment, and anticipation for what comes next.
Death is an easy target. It's a focus point that we can all assume we're headed towards, whether we aim for it or not. But that's no excuse for undervaluing our potential, setting short-sighted goals, or passing the buck to the next generation. Life shouldn't stop short of death, it should follow through it.