The tombstone exercise. Or not?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my values lately and I came across this exercise:

A simple exercise you can use to explore values in your life through this lens is called the Tombstone Exercise.

To do this exercise, first take a moment to reflect on what you might want your tombstone to say at the end of your life—maybe something like “was a loving parent” or “helped a lot of people”—and write it down.

Then, take a moment to think about what your tombstone might say if you died in your sleep tonight. If the tombstone was an honest reflection of your life to date, what might it say?


I think this is dumb. My tombstone would probably say something like “loving husband and father” whether I died tomorrow or when I’m 100. But I am curious if you get any value out of it. Let me know!

Maybe the better question is what you’d want someone to say in your eulogy? Or what you want your friends/family to talk about when they brag about you? Those feel meatier to me.

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