"The notion of death is so mysterious and enormous that, in many cases, it seems easier just to lock it away, although it has a way of escaping and sneaking up on our peripheral vision."
Be it sales, politics or tying the knot, it's recognized that the best way to motivate action is to apply pressure. Act now, or lose your chance! Don't let someone else beat you to it!
Death is a pretty definitive pressure point; we can deny it or ignore it, but we can't escape it. The more we can sense death (of the body, a tradition, our reputation, our party) hovering around us, the stronger becomes the urge to react. Those reactions tend to be more focused on the short-term; instinct, after all, is momentary - it doesn't plan ahead.
Of course death, like most of the truths we cling to, depends on one's point-of-view. When you see yourself as part of something larger - a system, as if you will - the end of you begins to matter less than what you leave behind. Instead of worry about what happens to us, we can consciously decide what to do with the time that is given us.
When you're not worried about outracing the bear, even at the expense of your friends, you realize that when we turn and face that fear together, we're stronger. That's when you stop consuming life through products and services sold to you and start to live it yourself. Pressure is the best recognized motivator - that doesn't mean there isn't something better.
Selfishness merely outruns the bear, but must keep on running; it's altruism that defeats fear entirely.