I’ve recently embarked on a fairly steep learning curve with a major life change. I’ve become a mother to an amazing little boy (yes, I’m allowed to be biased!) and one very early Sunday morning at a time I’ve become slightly too familiar with, I stumbled across an article that made me stop and think. I have to admit, it was the title that sucked me in The Moral Bucket List, but it was the concept of virtues that kept me reading.
The author David Brooks discusses the idea that there are two sets of virtues – résumé virtues and eulogy virtues. We all have a set of résumé virtues, those skills that make up employable and ones that we strive to improve upon in our quest for career progression and mastery. The eulogy virtues are the ones that make us who we are. We know these are more important, however, we often spend more time working on the résumé virtues – seeking external validation from others for a skill acquired and a job well done. These are the virtues that are often encouraged from the workplace, from the school environment, sporting arena and even within our own families. This is how we “get ahead”.
But it’s the eulogy virtues that will lead to a life well lived. These are the virtues that are remembered. They focus on the inner and self-improvement. Eulogy virtues tie in particularly well to the constructive styles (Achievement, Self-Actualizing, Humanistic Encouraging and Affiliative) of the Human Synergistics circumplex. We should be striving to build our eulogy virtues and to question ourselves regularly whether we are improving. At BRS we often talk of the 1% improvements – we need to make sure that these improvements aren’t just focused on the technical skill based, that we invest as much time and energy in our moral improvements. I firmly believe that if you focus on these eulogy virtues and be the best that you can be, the résumé virtues will take care of themselves. I’ll be encouraging my son to work on his own moral bucket list and the best way to do this is to make sure I continue to do the same.
Image: Rachel Levit. Photography by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times