David Brooks: Should you live for your resume … or your eulogy?

Originally written by me on April 25th:

Today I came across this video which brought up an interesting but often neglected topic of the part of the self focused on developing one’s personal accomplishments and the part of the self focused on making relations with other people and acting selfless. I think that what David Brooks says in this video is quite true and it made me realized how I may have overlooked how much culture tries to lean us more and more in the direction of ‘building up the resume’ and turning us away from ‘contributing to your eulogy.’ However, I think that Brooks did not emphasize enough on how we can balance these two selves and better understand that these two kinds of personalities do not have to always be at war with each other. For instance, and I am mainly using this example because I feel that my peers can most easily connect to this, the college experience encourages you to find a balance between these two selves. While the personal accomplishments of getting the degree and embarking in a career are obvious, the other part that is also very important but is less obvious is the expectation of starting to make key connections to other people. Between finding connections between professors, fellow people studying the same subjects as you are, and the people you may work with in an internship, ‘people skills’ become a crucial part of the college experience.

Nevertheless, I think more people should hear this kind of discussion brought up by David Brooks that we need to make sure that we don’t lose ourselves to being all-consumed by ‘filling up the resume’ and instead begin to think more about the humble side of ourselves.


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by David J. Glowny

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