The things we want in life and what’s important to us changes all the time. There even seems to be simple patterns in how those thoughts change over time. First we start just wanting to eat and sleep all day. Then we want to play video games or sports. It’s kind of like phases. As we get older it’s love, relationships and money. The phase we all get to is happiness and ultimately our legacy.
Of course, some people break the cycle and have a unique approach. It’s interesting to think how much more we could accomplish by skipping other phases. If we dedicate our lives to build a great legacy as early as we start driving we’d surely accomplish a lot. But before we can go leaving amazing legacies, we have to answer one question. What one thing would we like others to remember us by at the end of our lives?
Here’s what I want my legacy to be and my overall thoughts on it.
There’s so much that someone can be remembered by. People can rave about how filthy rich you were. They can revere how politically connected and respected you were. They can scold how reckless and bold you lived your life. They can cherish how sweet and selfless you were. These are all nice and thoughts I and most wouldn’t mind being the subject of.
But that’s not the number one thing I would want to be remembered by. The problem is those things were simply opinions and feelings. They’re personal and emotionally charged. I’m too analytical and rational to accept a few nice adjectives as my overall legacy in life. Even though I will never know my true legacy, I want the ones who do hear of me to have more to work with.
I would want the single thing I’m remembered by to be my impact on the world. How did I help you? Did I make your life easier? Did I help you reach a goal. Overall, what value did I add to your life? That is something that goes beyond a few qualitative adjectives and into something that can be quantified.
That has been my main mission in life and everything I do. I want to do as much as I can to add positive value to others. There’s nothing that gives me more purpose at the moment. I know I am capable of doing great things. I know I am smart enough to solve big problems. I know I am disciplined enough to tackle hard tasks. The only thing that can hold me back is myself.
So when I’m tallying up my score. When others are speaking of my life. The sweet words are always appreciated. But the only thing I want to be measured against is the goals I set out to achieve. And I want to add value to as many people as I can. If I do accomplish that, that’s what I want to know.
Tell me how I helped your brother become financially independent. Tell your best-friend how I inspired you to start sharing your thoughts on a blog. Tell your coworker how your super talented artsy daughter learned 90% of her skills from the platform I built. That’s a point in my book.
The legacy that goes on beyond me I hope is filled with stories of the value I added. It doesn’t have to be direct like we were best friends. But even if I indirectly added value to your life from an instagram quote that a friend of friend sent you, that’s amazing. That’s the legacy I want to go on for centuries past me and shared from generation to generation.
And I know legacies don’t just fall in your lap. The stories of the great things I did won’t just pop in someone’s mind. That’s fantasy. The only way to create that legacy is to work for it. So everyday I work towards doing the work that adds value to the world and nothing more. Because I know if I do my job right, the legacy part will take care of itself!