Let’s put creativity and content creation aside for a second and talk about life.
After all, to create anything worthwhile – we need to first be meaningful people. You are what you create and what you consume.
Meaningful doesn’t mean grandiose. It doesn’t mean “extremely successful” or “rich” or anything external.
It just has to be yours and focused.
To make something yours, you just have to be yourself. And to be yourself, you have to be alone, in the absence of opinions and voices of others. (I guess this is why Charles Bukowski calls “solitude a gift”.)
But to be focused, you need to know what kind of impact you want to make on the world. After all, you can’t move forward unless you understand where it is you’re going.
One of the best focusing exercises I’ve found was to create your eulogy.
A eulogy is anything you want to have on your tombstone.
I don’t want to sound dark or depressive but just imagine for a second (just a second) that you’ve died. Imagine people, your family, friends, gather around your grave. What are they going to say about your life? What kind of trace, or life story, did you leave behind? What have you done?
(I wrote about something similar in this short piece on Marcus Aurelius's question from Meditations called What If You Died Right Now?)
Here’s an example. When I asked myself this question a couple of days ago, I realized that I want people to say two things:
“He lived with a capital L. And explored everything life has to offer. And as he did so, he left notes for people – as maps – in the form of his writing. So that they can use them on their own journey.”
“He was the most authentic person I knew. He was an expert at being himself. He never pretended to be anyone else. He didn’t need to.”
What would your eulogy be?