Submitted to New York Times Op Ed Page. 2015

Goldsmith currently speaks around the country about how the simple exercise of writing your obituary can change your life and the world.


I wrote my obituary over 3 decades ago. Little did I know it would be the start of a journey I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

I was not one of those fortunate students who wrote under their yearbook photo – My ambition is to be a Lawyer, a Doctor, or the First Woman President. As a 17 year old without financial resources or family support, my ambition was limited by the circumstances of my life. That is until I wrote my obituary.

Where my resume recounted my past, my obituary would set the path for my future.

Where my resume listed the jobs I held, my obituary would chronicle the importance of public service, the opportunities opened by being an entrepreneur and the personal satisfaction of philanthropy.

Where my resume was built on effort and courage, my obituary would give my life purpose and direction.

As I begin my last act on this stage, I follow the path set by my obituary more than thirty years ago. That path continues to provide my life with purpose and direction taken for granted by many and absent from the lives of many more – notably today’s youth caught in a hopeless cycle of poverty or the empty entitlements of the millennial generation. The simple exercise of writing their obituary today could change their lives forever. It did mine.

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