I remember like it was today the day that my mother died almost 20 years ago. The eulogy I gave at her grave site was emotional and heartfelt, however, I struggled to write it. I share this with you today not as a melancholy reminder of the loss I encountered, but rather, to share with you a concept that I believe in and learned more about after reading the best seller by David Brooks, “The Road to Character.”
Brooks, in his book, talks about the difference between résumé virtues and what he calls eulogy virtues. While we spend a lifetime perfecting our résumé virtues, it’s those qualities that are discussed at our eulogy that a far more important, however not focused on, throughout our life. Even our education system and a billion dollar self-help industry give us strategies to achieve career success, not build character. So, when I was asked to speak about my mom I was at a loss. Why? Because my mom had only an eighth grade education and had few, if any, skills that would even qualify her for employment. She didn’t even have a driver’s license and struggled with simple math problems. Yet, she was one of the richest, most successful people I know. Why? Because she possessed traits that are and should always be the measuring stick for greatness.
Those traits or behaviors Brooks refers to as eulogy virtues. Today’s blog is simple. I have taken the concept set out by Mr. Brooks a step further by looking at the word ‘character’ and using it as a guide or map to direct your life towards integrity and moral standards that impact your life and the lives of everyone you touch. These are words that frankly will not show up on your résumé, however were very much a part of my mother’s eulogy. I have often said that life is like a jigsaw puzzle; while you focus on one piece at a time, the ultimate goal is to see the big picture.
Let’s take a look at a simple recognizable word and use it as our measuring stick for success moving forward.
While there are many words that can be included here, starting with this list, the virtues that you would like for those awarded with the honor to present your eulogy will take you on a path that will lead to happiness and success for you and those around you.