Why We Should All Write a Letter to Our Grandkids

Joost Minnaar
Written by Joost Minnaar January 15, 2022

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing." This famous quote by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard really hits the nail on its head. And as we spend most of our days at work, the work we do says a lot about the way we lead our lives.

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The problem is that most of us are not really aware of how we actually spend our lives since we are usually too busy with the day's issues.

But there are times we should stop for a moment and look at how we spend our days in this life. We should know what and who we are working for and what we want our loved ones to say about how we've spent our lives.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing." - Annie Dillard
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In our book, 'Corporate Rebels, Make Work More Fun', we said the following:

"Imagine this: you’re 80 years old and surrounded by your grandkids. They ask you about the things you are most proud of. You reflect on your life and poke about your past. Filled with pride, you tell them about the life you lived... Would you mention your job or the meaningful work you did with your colleagues? Did your career contribute to a better world?"

In their book 'Net Positive' Paul Polman & Andrew Winston built upon this idea and described another practical way to create awareness around how we spend our lives.

They wrote about how a CEO of a large European automaker recently gave her board some homework for a strategy session. The "homework" was simple, yet profound: She told all the board members to write a letter to their grandkids about what they did while on the board.

This doesn't seem like an exercise for board members only. We think this should be an exercise for everyone.

So, that begs the question: what would your letter to your grandkids say?

Why We Should All Write a Letter to Our Grandkids
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Written by Joost Minnaar
Joost Minnaar
Co-founder Corporate Rebels. My daily focus is on research, writing, and anything else related to making work more fun.
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