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Write Your Obituary

Posted by on March 8th, 2013 with 0 Comments

Write your obituary.
Create your headstone.
Write your own eulogy.

While a little maudlin, these are common reflection exercises, used in coaching everywhere.

The idea is simple

  1. Write your obituary.
  2. Realize that it’s boring, given your current path.
  3. Re-write your dream obituary.
  4. Start living that life tomorrow.

My second favorite samurai (Yes. I have a list of favorite samurai. I have lists of favorite everything. A couple of years ago, some friends were shocked to learn that puffins were my 6th favorite bird. If you must know, Musashi Miyamoto is my favorite samurai. John Belushi is third.) Yamamoto Tsunetomo addresses the point of this exercise nicely:

Before accepting death you should know what your objective is and achieve your goal before your last breath.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo, from D.E. Tarver’s translation of “The Hagakure

Seeing that we don’t know when death will strike any of us, it’s worth considering Yamamoto’s point.

  • What is your objective? What will you accomplish?
  • What is your objective? Even better, what can only you contribute?
  • When should you get started? Obvious answer = yesterday.

Look, on one hand, mortality sucks.
On the other hand, mortality is the ultimate focusing tool.
On the third hand, yeah, mortality still sucks, but let’s focus on the upside, shall we?

Because focus is SMART as Hell.

SMART as Hell Exercise

  1. Write: What your standard obituary would look like if you died today and someone filled out this depressingly bland template
  2. Rewrite #1: Your obituary (using this same template) for use if you die today. Google “best obituary ever” and see if you can top these for creativity and honesty.
    Do this for real and leave it where someone can find it – or post it below.
  3. Reflect: Are you okay with this (the exercise or the result)? What are you uncomfortable with?
  4. Rewrite #2: Your obituary assuming that you’ll live at least 10 more years. What would it look like then? Google “most interesting man in the world” for inspiration. (I can see it, “His obituary has already won a Booker Award”).
  5. Identify: What you’ll do differently to create that obituary.
  6. Act: On what you’ve identified. 

Share your comments, questions, or reflections below.

 

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