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Courageous Impact

August 24, 2020

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Several years ago, I read an op-ed by David Brooks in the New York Times. The piece, titled “The Moral Bucket List,” was a reflection about individuals Brooks encountered every so often. He observed how they radiated a generosity of spirit and inner light and how their character was infused with gratitude and humility. It led him to this observation:

“It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful.”

While college is the place to develop your résumé virtues, it’s also an opportune time to consider your eulogy virtues. It’s a time to craft your own moral bucket list and to consider the significant experiences you want to achieve that will nourish the depths of your character.

There are several ways you can go about this, and Brooks offered a few of the following:

  • Being deeply rooted in connection and community with others
  • Sharing energizing love, the kind of love that radically de-centers the self
  • Finding one's deeper call, one's true vocation and purpose in life

Beyond that, an additional tip I’ll share with you here is to practice courage. Courage is a habit, and like all habits, it can be strengthened. It requires us to do what is right, even when what is right is not easy. It’s about making difficult choices and navigating challenging situations, especially at the risk of confronting our weaknesses, exposing our vulnerabilities, and facing disapproval, failure, or humiliation. Courage involves making decisions that uphold our highest ideals, even when no one is watching.

In practicing courage, we can push aside the comfort of being passive observers and, instead, actively cultivate our inner character and achieve those items on our moral bucket lists.

With all the challenges and uncertainty of the Fall semester, let us practice courage and virtue to make a positive impact on our campus and world.

Be well,

Abrar Hammoud

Abrar Hammoud is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation. Her research explores resilience in collaborative teams, particularly connections between artistic expressions of failure, belonging, and willingness to take creative design risks. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week!



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