Based in Washington, Ross is a general manager of a food safety company. His musings explore life, work and every moment in between.

Resume vs Eulogy Virtues

This passage from the New York Times on 4/11/15 was written by David Brooks in an Op-Ed:

“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.

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self.”

This happened to my favorite golfer, Tiger Woods. Tiger lost sight of who he was in a quest to break all of the golf records. He was so driven by the resume virtues that “a humiliating gap opened between his actual self and desired self”. Along the way his best advisers stopped saying no to him, turned a blind eye, and enabled his behavior. Nobody was there to give him the honest truth about who he was becoming and if his Eulogy Virtues would be something he was proud of. Be careful of “Tiger Woods Syndrome.”

In your quest for the pressing goals and objectives, remember to reflect on your eulogy virtues. It just may help you avoid becoming someone you’re not proud of.

"Sorry" vs "thank you"

P1 = P2 - I