In The New York Times today, David Brooks presents “two sets of virtues, the resume virtue and the eulogy virtue.”
The resume virtues are the skills you need to get ahead in the marketplace, and the eulogy virtues are “whether you were kind, brave, honest, or faithful.”
While we'd like to believe that most feel that being a decent human being is more important than how much money we earn, unfortunately our education and economic systems are geared far more toward the latter, where it's widely acknowledged that "money makes the world go round!”
In fact, many will often sacrifice the moral high ground for landing on a bigger, cushier hill of worldly possessions and pleasures.
Interestingly enough, my daughter asked me last week, whether it is better to personally live a happy life but die with a horrible reputation or to live selflessly, struggling with life challenges, but be revered after you die?
To me the answer was simple--live, learn, and grow regardless of momentary personal happiness. Do what’s right, period--honor and chivalry is alive and well.
But my daughter told me that over 90% of people polled chose their happiness in life as their #1 goal.
I suppose it's easy to say what's the point of leaving a legacy if you were not happy living your life every day, but I would counter with what's the point in chasing life's daily pleasures, if you were a bum and everyone knows it?
The point isn't even what people say about us when we are alive or dead, but rather that we know that we tried our best to live as decent, ethical human beings and that hopefully, we left the world a better place than when we got here.
Sure, there is no blessing in being poor or unhappy--but living purely to satisfy one's voracious materialistic appetite is just being a selfish little pig--come on admit it!
On your deathbed, will you wish you that in your life you had more money and status or that you had been a better, more giving human being?
I say forget the resume and the eulogy, just think about what will really gives you peace of mind and inner happiness and it's more than any amount of money can buy or any seduction you can imagine. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)