Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I —
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.
But in the meantime how grievous the memory
Of hours frittered away.
Christopher Peterson at the University of Michigan believes that encouraging people to consider how they would like to be remembered after their death has various motivational benefits, including helping them to identify their long-term goals and assess the degree to which they are progressing toward making those goals a reality (Peterson, 2006).
Imagine a close friend standing up at your funeral and presenting your ideal eulogy. Write the script for your friend. What would you really like them to say about you? Feel free to avoid any sense of modesty, but keep it realistic. How would you want them to describe your personality, achievements, personal strengths, family life, professional success, and behavior toward others?
When you have finished writing, take a long and honest look at the eulogy for your ideal self. Do your present lifestyle and behavior justify the comment, or is there work to be done?
- Keltner, D. (2009). Born to be good: The science of a meaningful life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
- Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
- Sun Company. (1978). Sun magazine. Radnor, PA.: Sun Co.
- Wiseman, R. (2009). 59 seconds: Think a little, change a lot. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.