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New York Times columnist David Brooks says by focusing on our resumes and not on our morals, we’ve got it all wrong.
Brooks, author of the new book “The Road To Character,” breaks down the difference between eulogy values – what people will remember about you at your funeral – and resume values, or career-oriented accomplishments.
Eulogy values should be more important, he said – but unfortunately, they’re often ignored.
“The eulogy virtues are the things that are deeper inside…whether you were honest, brave, courageous, capable of deep love,” Brooks said in a PRESS Pass interview with Chuck Todd. “We all would rather have those.”
He said that he “achieved way more career success than I imagined I would,” but he wanted to write this book to help people step back and consider the values that really matter in life.
That might sound like an idea rooted in religion, but it’s not: In the book, Brooks cites political figures like Dwight Eisenhower and civil rights leaders like Bayard Rustin as inspirational historical figures who can help us fix our “broken places.”
It’s also not a partisan idea: Being obsessed with yourself is a struggle many political leaders from either side of the aisle struggle with, Brooks said.
“The experience of love can really transform people. But if you’re a politician, you’re the product and that’s a character challenge, he said.
Brooks, whom Todd described in the interview as the “moral compass of Washington,” said that people are more self-absorbed than they’ve ever been in large part due to self-promotion on social media.
“Culturally, we’re more open, less racist, less anti-Semitic, less sexist,” he said. “But in one way, I think we’re a little worse and that’s a little on the level of narcissism.”
To help reduce narcissism, he’s written a humility code, which includes living for “holiness, not happiness” and recognizing our incapacity to be perfect.
“We should always be on the journey,” he said.
-- Justin Peligri