He was young. But he decided to adopt for himself a very unyouthful habit. He resolved that by the turn of the clock every hour, he would think of his death. He was young, and by normal standards had a whole life ahead to look forward to. Then why the need for this ?
The thought of death is worrisome for most. It's worry lies in the uncertainty after death. We have at best to rely on theories. Death is a certainty, but a theory cannot be certified with proof. The road after death is a mystery to be unravelled after the history of life. As we think of this scary mystery, we start internally devising strategies to counter it. The importance of careful and correct planning cannot be undermined. Lack of planning is to lose the plot completely. To not think of death, is the road to inherent mental instability.
When we think of death, we plan out our future with the best possible interventions. Whether the interventions are ultimately correct or not is not the most important thing, because the very fact that we plan strengthens our faith in our ability to handle our future in the hereafter. If you are asked to appear in an exam, and you don't plan or prepare, failure is certain. The planning for the hereafter makes it incumbent on us to think of death. When we think of death, we lose our attachments, ambitions, and attractions. We become more fearless, because we are willing to lose. Thinking of death, removes our negative qualities in an automatic way. Suddenly, we experience less ego, less jealousy, less anger. And it amplifies all our virtues. We become shining examples of good human values. This is the power of thinking of death, where we may embrace it with grace.