David Brooks wrote a piece for The New York Times called The Moral Bucket List. In it, he talks about résumé virtues and eulogy virtues.
David writes, “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.”
Wow. That was powerful. Which virtues are we working on during our journey? How do we live a life that balances both types? How do we support our young people to grow skills that will make them valuable in the workplace and know what to do when in a tricky situation? How to speak up for the vulnerable or accept someone who is different or make the right choice when no one is watching?
We need the job to pay the bills but we need the character to lead the way.
How can we reward kind and brave actions? How can we create a society where the eulogy virtues are strived for in schools and communities? That the interview questions ask about times you made a difference as well as times you closed the deal?
American basketball coach John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Your character is what you really are.
May our character be our message to the world in all that we say and in all that we do. May our life be our eulogy.