Rivard Report founder/editor Bob Rivard has written eloquently and poignantly about his weight loss goals and journey. It’s a piece that I can identify with and has made me think about resolutions in general. One of Benjamin Frankin’s virtues was “resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
On December 31, 2013, I wrote my 2014 New Years Resolutions. Here they are with some commentary:
- Workout 225 days
- Today, I reached workout #196 for the year. It looks as though this resolution will be accomplished in early October.
- Wake up at 5:00 am on weekdays
- With the occasional exception, have stuck to this one.
- Be more orderly, temperate, frugal, and industrious
- I have completely failed at this one.
- Run the Alamo 13.1 Half Marathon
- Ran it in March. Ran another in April. Training for one on October 5 and another on November 8.
This list of resolutions essentially addresses weight loss and career advancement. Two weeks ago a dear friend was in a serious car accident, and I couldn’t help but think of the talk David Brooks gave at the 2014 TED Conference:
Here is my favorite passage:
So I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you put on your résumé, which are the skills you bring to the marketplace.The eulogy virtues are the ones that get mentioned in the eulogy, which are deeper: who are you, in your depth, what is the nature of your relationships, are you bold, loving, dependable, consistency? And most of us, including me, would say that the eulogy virtues are the more important of the virtues. But at least in my case, are they the ones that I think about the most? And the answer is no.
So I’ve been thinking about that problem, and a thinker who has helped me think about it is a guy named Joseph Soloveitchik, who….said there are two sides of our natures, which he called Adam I and Adam II. Adam I is the worldly, ambitious, external side of our nature. He wants to build, create, create companies, create innovation. Adam II is the humble side of our nature. Adam II wants not only to do good but to be good,to live in a way internally that honors God, creation and our possibilities. Adam I wants to conquer the world. Adam II wants to hear a calling and obey the world. Adam I savors accomplishment. Adam II savors inner consistency and strength. Adam I asks how things work. Adam II asks why we’re here. Adam I’s motto is “success.” Adam II’s motto is “love, redemption and return.”
And Soloveitchik argued that these two sides of our nature are at war with each other. We live in perpetual self-confrontation between the external success and the internal value. And the tricky thing, I’d say, about these two sides of our nature is they work by different logics. The external logic is an economic logic: input leads to output, risk leads to reward. The internal side of our nature is a moral logic and often an inverse logic. You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer the desire to get what you want. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.
We happen to live in a society that favors Adam I, and often neglects Adam II.
Living a healthy life is a worthwhile goal. As is career advancement. But we find happiness in love and “surrendering to something outside ourselves.”
Maybe next year’s resolutions should address eulogy traits.