When I give talks about career management, I intermittently stick up slides of the epitaphs of luminaries from the past. The quote above comes from the front page obituary in Washington Evening Star on the 25th of January 1965:

Churchill is dead, gone from the world he saved. And the world he saved, distracted still by the flow and eddy of modern events, has not yet reckoned its debt to him.”

Wow! There is always silence in the room when I read that one out. I also love Christopher Wren’s wonderfully understated tombstone in St Paul’s. So you can imagine how popular I am when I put up this slide [please forgive the assumptive iconography]:

and inquire of my audience members what they imagine will appear on their tombstones; or more specifically, what they would like to have on their tombstones. I’ve touched on this before – no sane person wants their tombstone to look like this:
And yet so many of us live our lives as though that was our aim. I was walking to my mother’s house a while back and came across this bench set into a lay-by on the coast road.

I really liked the plaque:
I’ve lived in this neighbourhood all my life, but I’d never met, or even heard of, Gordon Clifford until I saw this memorial. A pity – he sounded like an interesting fellow.
“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
(Japanese Proverb)

“You can stop counting now, ‘cos I ain’t getting up.”
(Muhammad Ali’s proposed epitaph)

What do you want on your epitaph? Are you living your life that way?