Should you live to build a great resume or a great life? The idea behind this post came from a TED Talk from 2014 by David Brooks. I mean no offense to Mr. Brooks by what I am about to say. The idea is great, but you can skip listening to the talk itself because he gets it all wrong.
What do I mean by that? I’ll explain. In the TED Talk, he quotes a Rabbi who says that each of us has two selves, one focused on outward success and one focused on inward meaning and purpose. Okay, I buy that. He says it’s bad to be overly focused on outward success at the expense of inward meaning and purpose. I’m still on board. Would anyone want to be described at their funeral as “single-minded”, “workaholic”, “ruthless”, and “relentless”? Those are qualities it takes for economic success. But, that’s not a person you would want to be around.
Choosing Between a Great Resume or a Great Life
Here’s where David Brooks and the Rabbi lose me. They assert that the way to balance the success-driven “Adam 1” side of your personality is to focus on finding and rooting out sin from yourself. They call this developing “Adam 2”. The problem with that is, what you focus on expands. If you’re constantly focused on your sins and imperfections, that’s all you will ever do. Think about the people that you’ve known who do this. They are no fun to be around, just like the Adam 1 overachiever is.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a believer in growth and self-development. That is a foundational part of what this blog is all about. But, I believe the focus should be on growth, and not on rooting out imperfections. Think of it like a garden. If you’re too focused on removing weeds, nothing will ever grow. Or, at least not to its full potential. You have to do some weeding, or your garden will become overgrown, but you need to make sure you don’t pluck every new growth that springs up assuming it’s a weed. You also need to make sure you are watering and nurturing so that growth is possible, which can’t happen if you weed all the time.
Having Both a Great Resume and a Great Life
So, here’s my take on developing either a great resume or a great life. Focus on growth and self-development and you can have both. With your focus set on supporting sustainable growth, you will not become the amoral nightmare that is Adam 1. But, you also won’t become the self-centered, sin-focused, hot mess that is Adam 2. You will become someone that makes a positive impact on yourself, your friends, your family, and the world around you. That way, when you go, you leave a legacy that people will remember.
What do you think about this? I would love for you to let me know! I’ll share responses on my social media channels after protecting your private information. If you want credit for your response, add your Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, or Tik Tok username(s) so I can tag you.
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Until Next Time,
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