In this article, you’ll discover how to choose what to be your legacy so that you can inspire others and become immortal for those who love you.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
Shannon L. Alder
How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone? Would you like to be remembered for the things you have accomplished or for the way you’ve impacted other people’s lives?
Or, maybe, a bit of both?
Whenever I’m thinking of what I’d like to leave behind when I die, my high school French teacher creeps into my mind. She was one of those few teachers that knew, exactly how to behave to make you feel uncomfortable, inadequate, stupid and hopeless. Her communication skills were close to zero.
In her obituary (and she is not even dead yet) there are plenty of example of such behaviors.
She creeps into my mind because she is the one single example that summarizes what I, definitely don’t want to leave behind when I’m gone. We thank you for your contribution miss A; without you, we might have never realized that our legacy is not only what we do, but also what we don’t do.
How you’ll be remembered are the things that you are accomplishing in life. Things such as career, wealth, school and so on, things that you’ve done for yourself.
Your legacy is an entirely different thing. Your legacy, are the things you’re doing for others, plus some things you do for yourself with positive effects on others as well.
What Do You Want Your Legacy to Be?
The reality is this: we care today for events that will happen after we are no longer here; and from a logical perspective, it’s nonsense to be concerned about that. Is it not? However, that care is one of the most beautiful traits of a human being even though comes, partially out of vanity.
You care to leave positive and beautiful things behind.
As you love yourself today, you like the idea that people will remember your name and who you were after you’ll no longer be here to enjoy being appreciated by others.
Just think of what do you want to happen when you die; you want your loved ones to be left with a sense of peace; you don’t want them to suffer, but at the same time, if they will not suffer at all for losing you, makes you sad, doesn’t it?
“Don’t suffer for me, but DO cry a lot!”
It’s your legacy that makes you immortal.
The best thing about your legacy is the fact that you are living it now; As you are building it, you’re living it.
Step away from the desire for your name to be remembered after you are gone.
I can give you many examples of people that are and will be named for generations to come for all the wrong reasons.
Thus, just because we remember their name doesn’t mean they left a positive stamp on the world.
However, there are so many people that, perhaps, you have never heard their name, and yet, you are the beneficiary of their legacy; and at the end, that is all it matters.
How is your legacy making the world a better place for future generations? A grandparent, for example, can leave an extraordinary legacy that inspires generations just by accomplishing many ordinary things.
A few examples of people that contributed to a better world and you might not ever hear their name:
- Alexander Cumming – the inventor of the S-shaped toilet. He is the one that made possible for us to have a toilet in the house without the smells (funny that we start with A. Cumming, but we s**t every day on his legacy and don’t know his name).
- Charles Babbage – the inventor of the first mechanical computer.
- Helen Bosanquet and Octavia Hill – the pioneers of social services.
- James Harrison – blood donor for more than 1000 times which saved nearly 2.4 million children (his blood contained a rare antibody called Rho(D) Immune Globulin.)
- Rosalind Franklin – the first researcher of the DNA.
- Tim Berners-Lee – the inventor of the WWW.
- Clara Barton – the creator of the Red Cross.
- Jane Ayers – the developer of the concept of sensory integration used mainly in neurology.
- Irena Sendlerowa – along with an underground network, rescued about 2500 Jewish children in Poland in WWII.
Your legacy is not your name but your deeds.
It’s fashionable these days to give examples of what people regret on their deathbed with the aim of making you prioritize better the things in your life. I’ll not give you such examples because they are irrelevant to your life. Do you enjoy spending your days in front of the TV? You might regret that on your dying bed; but, hey! You enjoyed every day of your life.
The day you’ll be on your deathbed is far, far away; and it will be only one time in your life. That is the reason why it’s irrelevant the example of what others regret at the end of their life. Life is meant to be lived, loved and taken advantage of every day; every day is important; at the end of each day, you should be satisfied what you’ve done with it – every evening- one day.
Yet, as enjoyable as it could be watching TV, know that is not building your legacy in any shape or form.
That doesn’t mean to run all day, searching for opportunities to improve your legacy.
Listen, every interaction you have is an opportunity, every cry for help from others is an opportunity, every brilliant idea you have is an opportunity.
Life gives you many opportunities to build up your legacy so that you become immortal.
The only questions are:
- What do you want your legacy to be?
- Are you taking advantage of the opportunities life is offering you?
- Are you using your talents, skills and potential to create a better life for yourself and others?
- Are you aware of how much influence you have on those around through your actions, words, and personal example? And do you honor that influence?
- Are you working for that legacy you want, or are you flying where the wind carries you?
Your life’s purpose shouldn’t be to leave a positive legacy, but, the way you live your life to be a legacy in itself.