I’ve been pondering about something I wrote last week.
And it made me think about David Brooks’ TED talk on working on your Eulogy resume. It’s a quick 5-minute video if you haven’t heard of it.
If you don’t like watching videos, or like me, you don’t carry your headphones around, here’s a great article that will make you think about this topic.
And if you don’t feel like clicking on either link, here’s a quick rundown:
“It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues, and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?
We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.”
The reason I’m bringing it up is that last week I wrote to you about the tragic death of my co-worker and her family, and I wrote: “My goodness, how she laughed at every chance she could“.
And I couldn’t get those words out of my head!
Beacuse that’s ultimately my lasting memory of her. Not her work ethic, her daily life activities, her title at work, or what she loved the most, to name a few things.
It’s true that people remember how you made them feel more than anything else, but people will also remember your quirks, the twinkle in your eye, what you stood for, and the values you embodied.
And as I wrote those words last week, I realized that no one will ever write something like that about me.
Because Hi!, I don’t laugh at everything. It’s actually quite the opposite…I ponder at everything. It’s very rare that I burst out laughing. So I already know people won’t remember me as a good-humored person.
Which really got me thinking…
How do I WANT them to remember me as?
Disclaimer: I’m slightly veering away from the idea of a Eulogy resume, NOT that it isn’t important, but I want to focus more on you thinking about a principle you want to embody.
Notice how I’m not saying “how do I THINK they will remember me”. That’s a difficult rabbit hole to go down in especially if you’re someone that doesn’t have a lot of confidence in yourself.
So let’s quickly run through this exercise.
The point of this exercise is to think of a word(s) that you WANT people to associate you with once you’re gone. Sorry but I do have to bring in death into the picture else this exercise is futile.
I have a few words in mind, but for easiness sake, I’ll go with Adventurer.
“Your Name” WAS a(n) __word______
Example: Roxana WAS an “adventurer”
You might not embody this word yet (I’m 10% there myself). You might not even be close. But what if you worked towards it every single day?
What if every moment given to you, you do your best to display the characteristics you admire the most in others?
The video and attributed book talk about focusing your mental energy on creating and strengthening your character. To align yourself more with a higher moral standard. The article, on the other hand, really talks about how to create your eulogy resume, and this particularly stood out to me: “your legacy is built in moments”.
Each moment is an opportunity to become the person you want others to remember you by.
And just as an FYI, this isn’t about THEM. It’s about you. It’s about working towards the couple of words you want to embody and align yourself with. The bonus is that that’s the image people will have of you at the end. Which means you successfully became the person you most wanted to be.
If being adventurous is something that speaks to you, then what are you waiting for?! Go on adventures and tell people about them!
If you want to be spiritual, what can you do to become that? And so on.
This is not meant to depress you by any means, but to make you think!
If you have social anxiety or you care so much about what others think of you, this exercise will redirect your thoughts to the actions you need to take. You won’t have time to worry about what others think of you because you’re focusing on what YOU want to think of you.
Let the word you choose be your guiding principle every single day, regardless of the situation you find yourself in.
P.S Here are some words:
Wise. Generous. Kind. Relaxed. Easy-going. Thoughtful. Fighter. Activist. Funny. Intellectual.