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  • Tom Birchard

Résumé vs. Eulogy

I was out for a walk this past week listening to a podcast where Dr. Peter Attia interviewed Hugh Jackman (Link). I guess it would be more accurate to say they interviewed each other, I’d highly suggest checking it out as they have a great back and forth conversation. Early in the talk Attia uses the phrase, ”Make your eulogy better than your résumé.” They go on to discuss some of the implications of framing life in this way and it struck me how much wisdom is packed in a short seven-word phrase like this.

It dawned on me that this simple phrase could potentially tie together several of my previous posts. A few would be…

· Lessons from George Bailey – The entire message of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is about the impact you make on people. With the help of his angel Clarence, George learns that the positive impact he’s had on other people is far more important than his business aspirations or desire to travel the world

· The End of History Illusion and Becoming a Father – There might be no better reality check around your eulogy being more important than your résumé than becoming a father/mother. Rory isn’t able to carry on a conversation yet but it’s pretty clear he won’t care much whether I got that last promotion or what my title at work is

· Articulating Your Personal Purpose – Everybody who goes through this exercise will define their purpose a bit differently. That said, I’d be surprised if anyone did this thoughtfully and found that everything they value centers around work, career, and money. If we go through life on autopilot though, those are often the areas we fixate on

· In Favor of Balance – I touched on many different elements of balance, but one was “helping others vs. self-focus.” As the article says, there’s got to be a balance, but I think there’s a strong case towards leaning towards having a positive impact on others wherever possible

I certainly don’t write about this to say I have it figured out, far from it. Too often I find myself prioritizing my résumé and I rarely think about my eulogy. Writing about it in public is an effective way for me to keep myself in check and try to remember what’s really important. So if you find this phrase and concept helpful, remind yourself often to “make your eulogy better than your résumé!”

Thanks for reading and here are some of the favorite things I’ve come across the last couple weeks!

· Article - Become an Uncertainty Killer by Nick Maggiulli – Throughout my career I’ve felt like people struggle with this but I haven’t been able to put words to it. Nick does that here, I think he’s spot-on and a worthwhile short read for anyone trying to develop in their career or even relationships

· Cool Website - The Evolution of Trust – This is a fun little interactive website that teaches some good lessons related to trust. It was a good use of 20 minutes while staying a hotel last week

· Video - George Saunders 2013 Commencement Speech – Love this message and reminder around life as a progression of becoming kinder as we grow older and trying to lean in that direction wherever we can

· Twitter Thread - Chris Herd on Remote Work – There were a lot of articles swirling early in COVID around remote work and what form it would ultimately take. This thread has some of the best takes I’ve heard in a while so if this topic is interesting to you, I’d suggest checking it out, Chris has clearly done his homework

· QuoteSuccess comes from daily impatience and decades of patience. Shaan Puri

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