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The Moral Bucket List

April 21, 2015


I recently read a fascinating article by David Brooks in the New York Times - The Moral Bucket List

The first line of the article reads, 'ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light."  who doesn't want to continue reading? 

David goes on to write, "A few years ago I realized that I wanted to be a bit more like those people. I realized that if I wanted to do that I was going to have to work harder to save my own soul. I was going to have to have the sort of moral adventures that produce that kind of goodness. I was going to have to be better at balancing my life."

Is he right, should we all be saving our souls? 

He touches on two important virtues, "It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?"  

It gives you the chills when you realize how different these are yet how relevent they both are to your everyday life.  Yet he simply states that, "Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character." And lets be honest, he is right. 

From his perspective, "I came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born" and he goes on to write the what the accomplishments would be if you set out to do a moral bucket list.

Basically the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life!

This is our intreptation of his list:

1. THE HUMILITY SHIFT - "an intense self-awareness from a position of other-centeredness" - They can control their ego in any situation.

2. SELF-DEFEAT - Making yourself stronger where you are weak. (he gives an example of Dwight Eisenhower that is amazing. 

3. THE DEPENDENCY LEAP - Character is defined by how deeply rooted you are. This is a lifelong journey 

4. ENERGIZING LOVE - "This gift of love overcame, sometimes, the natural self-centeredness all of us feel." He notes a beautiful story about Doris Day and how her life changed with the birth of her daughter... 

5. THE CALL WITHIN THE CALL -  David says it best when he writes, "But some people have experiences that turn a career into a calling. These experiences quiet the self."

6. THE CONSCIENCE LEAP - Again, David puts in better words than we ever could, "Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?"

At the end of the end of the day, this article is a wonderful reminder to strive to be one with the universe or whatever your purpose is. Not for serving your ego or others rather to make the world a better place, one small step at a time -- making our journey one worth purely living! 

Again, we highly recommend David article in the NYT, click here to read.