“A great [person] is one sentence.” — Clare Boothe Luce
How would you be remembered in only one sentence?
In his book “Drive,” author Dan Pink recounts a conversation between Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce and President John F. Kennedy. She sought to focus his agenda by asking him to represent himself in one sentence. She feared he was a “muddled paragraph.”
Luce gave two examples of “one sentence.” I add a third...
“He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”
“He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.”
“She inspired women as the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.”
According to Luce, “history has no time for more than one sentence, and it is always a sentence that has an active verb.”
A single sentence leaves little room for exposition. It demands clarity. Such a sentence memorializes the imprint of your life in only one or two achievements.
Your “one sentence” is rooted in meaning. To avoid becoming a “muddled paragraph,” you must seek out that meaning and put it in writing. This sentence won’t just commemorate your life, it will be your compass in life.
I’ll put some skin in the game and show you mine...
“He helped millions of people find motivation through meaning.”
Don’t wait for the perfect sentence. Write it down today. Tinker with your sentence throughout life as clarity illuminates and meaning shifts.
To echo Dan Pink, “what’s your sentence?”