‘Everyone needs to write their own obituary’

Most of us live our lives in the tension between our desire to live the good life and our desire to be good people. Nowhere is this tension more obvious than in newspapers – in the advertisements and the obituaries. The advertisements show us how to have the good life – good cars, good clothes, good food, good teeth, good sex. But obituaries never speak about how someone achieved good cars, clothes, food, teeth and sex; they try to explain how the subject was a good person.
Most of us want to be good people and to leave a lasting legacy behind us; but most of us are also tempted to give it a much lower priority than what it takes to achieve the good life.
Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, got it right when, based on his own experience of having read a newspaper report of his death (it was actually his brother who had died), decided he didn’t want to be remembered as the man who made a fortune having invented TNT, the high explosive that brought death to multitudes. He said: ‘everyone needs to write their own obituary while still in mid life.’

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This entry was posted in Accomplishments, accountability, Achievement, Death, Life, Life's journey, Life's lessons, Obituaries, re-evaluating life, Reflecting, Reputation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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