Tag Archives: Obituary

Motivational Redux: To Make the Obituary in The Economist

About a week ago, I wrote a post about what could be the modern day version of writing yourself a $10,000,000 post-dated check. A few days ago, I saw a tweet that made me reconsider another common motivational activity: writing your own obituary. This tweet came from @GSElevator, which purports to be “things heard in the Goldman Sachs elevators.” Having never worked at a company liked Goldman Sachs (or Goldman Sachs, for that matter), I have no idea whether this account is purely a parody or if these things are actually spoken (or could be spoken).

Anyway, the tweet:

This sounds like it was a question asked in an interview and it’s great on so many levels. To begin, it shows ambition. The people who have obituaries written for them in The Economist are certainly no slouches. These are people who have accomplished — a lot. Second, it shows that the candidate reads The Economist (or at least that the candidate wants to provide the illusion that they do). Working at a place like Goldman Sachs means that The Economist would be required reading. Third (and unrelated to the interview), it gives us another opportunity to talk about ways to motivate ourselves. If you’re having trouble committing to that project or you just can’t get started on that book, you’ve got a number of ways (write your own Wiki page, post-dating a check, writing your The Economist obituary, etc.) to try and get you going.

Take a few minutes this Monday morning and think about that To Do list you haven’t quite gotten to in a while. What grand idea have you been putting off that you just know is brilliant?


“Write Your Own Wiki Page” is the new “Write Your Obituary”

This past week in one of my classes there was a dynamic guest speaker who spoke about life and business. He talked about many of the things he’s done and that he’s still looking to make his mark on history. He framed ‘career’ into ‘quarters.’ There’s the “first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and the fourth quarter.” In the first quarter, you are sort of getting your feet wet. In the second quarter, you start to take charge and take on more responsibility. I’m sure you get the metaphor by now.

As I was thinking about my life and the its “quarters,” I was remembered of the exercise that people are often asked to do when they’re making long-term goals: “write your own obituary.” The purpose of an exercise like this is to help you focus on those things that you would like to accomplish in life. When one reflects on the things one wants to be remembered for, there’s a good chance that one’s priorities might need to be rearranged (in order to meet those goals).

As I thought more about the idea of ‘writing my obituary,’ I thought: “I haven’t read very many obituaries in the NYT, but I certainly have read a number of Wiki pages of people who’ve died!” And thats’ when it hit me — “Writing Your Own Wiki Page” is probably ‘this’ generation’s version of write your own obituary.

Letting that sink in for a bit was kind of strange: Who am I to have a Wiki Page. Well, I better get cracking on ‘changing the world,’ if I want to have a Wiki page about me. More than that self-talk was the idea of future generations. I said that writing your own Wiki page could be thought of as this generation’s version of write your own obituary. So… what will the next generation’s version of write your own Wiki page be?