Why you should write your own eulogy today

Writing your eulogy while you’re still alive may seen kind of morbid, but actually, the earlier in your life you write your eulogy, the better.

What do you want people to say about you when you are gone? What would they say, or think, if you were to pass on tomorrow? Let’s operate on the assumption that you have a number of years left… at least 80 more 🙂 … and project your mind ahead to what kind of person you COULD become in that much time.

What kind of a mark could you leave on this planet? How many lives could you touch? Whatever your experience has been, you’ve already learned a lot, no doubt. How many people on this planet now, and in the years to come, will also need to learn the hard lessons you’ve had to learn? Thank heavens for people who share what they learn to let their hardships become another person’s blessing.

Whatever it is that you’d like people to say or think upon your passing, there’s no better time than right now to point your life in that direction. Take a minute to write down at least 3 things you want to be remembered for. If you do (and I know that only the rarest person will…), then you’ve just taken a powerful step in creating an amazing and admirable life.

Dilemmas that come to you will be seen with increased clarity, choices will not be so difficult to make, and the support you need will come into your life — as fast as you’re ready for it.

Think of the three things you want said about you. Whether you write it in sentence form or in a list, it really doesn’t matter.

Suppose you wrote something like: ‘he was always a man of integrity’ (note: it doesn’t have to be a characteristic you already possess)…

With that intention established, you can use the following formula to know if someone or something in your life is a true friend to you:

_________ makes it easier for me to have integrity. True / False

Put your friends and colleagues’ names in there one at a time, and if the statement proves true, then you have a true friend in that person. If the statement is false, then you will want to increase your circle of friends with those who support your life’s mission.

Add to your life as many people as you can who will support you in becoming the person you really want to become.

Now put other things into the blank, like your favorite hobby. Does spending time with that hobby make it easier for you to have integrity? Maybe it does. What about certain books you might read? What kind of shows can you watch that will inspire you to have integrity?

Let’s look at another one: ‘She was a woman of courage.’ Now, let’s create the formula:

_________ makes it easier for me to have courage. True / False

Some things you may put in there will be entirely irrelevant, at least on the surface. For example: grocery shopping on Tuesdays makes it easier for me to have courage. True, false, or irrelevant? Probably irrelevant.

But what about: listening to a motivational tape makes it easier for me to have courage. Or: might choosing to dodge my creditor’s phone calls make it easier for me to have courage? (Not likely.)

The point is, once you have identified at least 3 of your most cherished values, you’ll make your daily choices with greater clarity. In time, you will have shaped your life, choice by choice, and the eulogy WILL become true. It might take some time before you will feel or see the effects of your tiny choices along the way, but it all adds up.

So what qualities do you value most in a person? Honesty? Integrity? Optimism? Wisdom? Strength? Or something else? Choose your qualities like you were shopping for them at a grocery store. Put the ones that matter most into your basket, and take them home with you. They don’t have to be a part of you yet, you just have to choose them.

Then write that eulogy. It may be one of the hardest things you ever do, but probably one of the most powerful things you could do to put your life on a different path, if that’s what you want.

What qualities are possessed by the happiest people you know? Can you name the qualities? Remember, they don’t have to be true just yet.

What do you aspire to be? Originally published on Oct 28, 2005

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