"The tragedy of life is not death
but what we let die inside us while we live"
- Norman Cousins
Are you feeling stuck? Are you wondering where your life is leading? Are you looking behind you and wondering where the years have gone? Do you feel like you've been an idle passenger on your own life journey? Isn't it supposed to be more fun? More meaningful?
Do you want to know how you can change your life? Feel happier? Calmer? More at peace? Happiness doesn't have to be so elusive. Trust me.
Write your own eulogy. That's right... you read that correctly.
1. Think about what you would like your family, friends and society to say about you when you die (dig deep, what qualities stand out?).
2. Write it all down, don't hold anything back, don't censor yourself, and be sure to make yourself cry!
1. Find the missing link between how you are living your life right now and how you want to be remembered as living your life.
(be honest with yourself, strip yourself raw... otherwise what's the point?). This missing link is the disconnect that creates discomfort and dissatisfaction in life. You have a vision of who you are at soul level (which makes you happy), but aren't living your truth (which makes you unhappy and frustrated).
For example, if in your eulogy you write "She was full of life and so adventurous," but the reality is that you're pretty negative and you make no effort to experience new things, then there is an obvious disconnect between how you believe you'd like to be remembered and how you actually live your life (remember 'someday' never comes, you only have 'today'). Check in with your tug while you do this exercise... if you write "She was a great doctor and she made her parents proud..." If while you're writing these words your gut tightens up and you feel repelled by having to live for approval... that's something worth noting. Are you successful on someone else's terms? Did you become a doctor because that's who you are at soul level or because it was expected of you or you had nothing better to do? Check in with how your body feels during this process.
2. List the qualities you feel confident you possess right now. Keep cultivating them!
3. List the qualities you need to develop to become the person you are at soul level. Create an action plan (do you need to go back to school? do you need to volunteer? do you need to be more honest? do you need to be more playful? do you need to meditate? do you need to leave a relationship? Be specific. What do you need to do to bridge the gap between who you are today and who you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave the world?)
Once you close the gap, you will immediately notice a sense of calm and clarity within yourself... and your happiness level will automatically increase. (Don't confuse doing what you love with being the ultimate best version of yourself... you may love playing video games, but playing video games doesn't foster the quality of 'service'... so if in your eulogy 'service' is a characteristic that defines the best version of YOU, then you need to find ways to cultivate that trait... and playing video games, as much as you enjoy that activity, doesn't move you closer to the person you want to be. On the other hand, if in your eulogy you state you want to be known as the best video gamer ever, then playing hours of video games is perfectly consistent with that goal. And, if that's the case, you're probably not reading this post because you're happy... you're living the life you're meant to live.)
4. Seek out people who possess the qualities you're looking to develop. Surround yourself with people, books and environments that will encourage and instil the habits and attitudes you want to embody. Be proactive.
Many people ignore their tug until, on their deathbed, they are forced to face a life they haven't fully lived... filled with regret. You have an opportunity to fast forward into the future, look back, and course correct before it's too late. Use your eulogy to help guide you on your true path... NOW! The clarity you receive is your map to who YOU ARE. Will you stay in the passenger seat? Or will you be the driver and take the wheel and steer? Clearly, you have a choice to make. And only you can make it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this exercise.
Leave a comment below... thanks!