“Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé, the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success. The eulogy virtues are deeper. They’re the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being.” ~ David Brooks
I have come to a stage in my life where I am attending more funerals. My friends and their spouses are now passing and as I attend the Celebrations of Life, it gives me pause to reflect on what matters most in life. We live in a society that values success based on accomplishments. I remember a university professor telling me that getting my doctoral degree would look good on my résumé. He then told me that being on the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) would also be good for my résumé, so the over-achiever in me applied. I earned my doctoral degree and served as the first student-voting member of the ABOR and along with all of my other accomplishments; I had a good-looking résumé. But, so what? Most people didn’t even know I had a doctoral degree, the only time I used it was to sign correspondence for grants and letters of recommendation. At one point in my career, I realized I was no longer going to say yes to something just because it would look good on my résumé. The things I said yes to would have to provide a deeper meaning in my life.
I now realize that for me, the eulogy virtues are the important things to nurture. I spend more time now focusing on how I show up each day and the relationships I develop and foster with others. The accomplishments on my résumé aren’t my goals any longer. I look for how I can best serve my purpose in life; in Sanskrit this is known as dharma. Each morning prior to meditation, I ask the Deepak Chopra’s Four Soul questions:
The answers to these questions change, but with time my answers have become deeper and less egocentric and more universal. The answers become my guiding principals in life and they help me to focus my attention on my true desires, which are after all the eulogy virtues.
Are résumé virtues or eulogy virtues more important in your life? Why?
What words and phrases would you like people to say about you at your eulogy?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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