Rest in Peace
Death is perhaps the only absolute certainty in the life of any man. It comes for us all, can strike without warning, and from it there is no return.
It’s said that knowledge of our own mortality is what separates us from animals. Some choose to use this knowledge of their ever depreciating time on this earth to motivate their push towards an excellent showing in life, while others painfully squander their precious breaths languishing in a situation that is less than what they are ultimately capable of producing for themselves.
One simple exercise that I use with Coaching clients that I have observed to be immensely powerful in solidifying one’s decision to change is the composition of a eulogy for their former self.
This introspective task forces the man to assess who he has been, and allows the shortfalls in his character and actions to be brought to light.
The premise is that with the death of the old self, comes the birth of the new, powerful self. Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, the new man is born again hard; a juggernaut, a dominant force capable of positively impacting the world and living a life worth remembering, a legacy instead of a tragedy.
The word decision comes from the Latin “Decidere” which means to cut, or to sever. When one claims to make a decision, a term that is so loosely and insincerely thrown about daily by the masses, what they are literally saying is that they are cutting off any possibility that they will return to their past behavior, or produce any outcome other than the one that they truly desire (punch yourself directly in the scrotum the next time you catch yourself using that word carelessly).
The eulogy exercise demonstrates the sincerity of the author’s decision to bury his former self and reemerge in his new form.
Below I’ve included a sample of this exercise for a hypothetical man named “Tom”.
“Tom was a good man. He got up for work every morning and pissed away his time doing something he truly despised in exchange for a salary that allowed him to cover his expenses most of the time, and occasionally finance some time for himself and his loved ones to enjoy.
Tom was very much interested in being in great shape. His lack of effort and consistency however, despite his knowledge of the mechanics of accomplishing the task, sadly prevented him from ever looking or feeling the way that he always wanted to.
Tom never got to experience the exhilaration that comes with turning the heads of women when he walked into a room. He was never what most would call “attractive”. This was not because of some genetic curse that he inherited, he simply never took the requisite actions to maximize what he had been blessed with and become a man that men and women alike wanted to be around.
In all of Tom’s intimate relationships he was a very caring and attentive man. He always sought to make sure that his wife/girlfriend was happy, regardless of his own state. Whenever there were plans for a date night, Tom always asked the question “What do you want to do”. He did not take the lead as he felt that his woman desired to do so.
Tom’s sex life was acceptable at best. Occasionally he would have passionless sex, often after negotiating the need for more of it in his relationship. He frequently did “little things” in an attempt to please his mate in hopes that she would reward him with some motionless, missionary sex.
There was one time after marriage that Tom did have some great sex though, that was after his wife had been drinking wine for most of the evening and they had watched a few episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” together while he rubbed her feet. Tom always had a laugh with his buddies at work when he talked about how “hot” his wife thought Jax Teller was, but how inept his character would be when it actually came to providing for her or reliably picking the kids up from soccer practice like he does.
Tom chose a life of supplication. He went to great lengths to ensure that his wife, his boss, and all of those around him were pleased with what he was doing. He sought validation for his actions routinely, and opted to forego much of a social life or hobbies for the sake of keeping the peace.
Tom harbored a lot of self doubts and limiting beliefs. There were countless things that he wished he could have done like play the guitar, ride a motorcycle, speak a foreign language, and invest in real estate and the stock market. While the resources he needed to make those things possible were always available to him, he chose not to pursue any of these endeavors either for fear of failing, belief that he wasn’t worthy, the negative comments of others, or often because he “just didn’t have the time”.
Years from now when people speak of Tim, I’m sorry, Tom, they will tell tales of his mediocrity will recall that above all he was “a pretty decent guy”.
It is said that with each death comes new life. I think I can speak for all in attendance here when I say that I hope the life that comes about from this death is one more memorable.”
Now I know you’re probably saying “Damn JP, you’re being a bit harsh aren’t you?“, and you’re right I am. This exercise often brings out a lot of anger from the person composing it, and rightfully so.
The person who you have been is not the person that you are condemned to be for the rest of your days.
You can choose to take the actions necessary to be the powerful man that you want to be.
When you’re ready to make that decision, I encourage you to complete the above exercise. I’m happy to discuss it with you if you like, though I completely understand the desire of some to keep it personal.
What’s important is that you assess where you are and contrast it to where you want to be. If your dreams and aspirations are clearly not going to be manifested from the actions that you’ve been taking until now, make the decision to get congruent and make that shit happen.