What is a Legacy?

This month our theme is the topic of legacy.  It may sound like a strange topic to start the year off with, typically legacies are talked about when death or endings are involved, not beginnings. But often to get the ending you want you have to start off on the right foot.  So let’s start off by talking about what a legacy is, what it isn’t and what it could be.

A legacy is how people view or remember you after you’ve died.  Sometimes people who do really big things during their lives will be recognized for their efforts while they’re still alive, but almost always a legacy refers to after death.  A legacy is not something you have complete say over.  Yes, you can do some things intentionally during your life with the hopes that it’s what you’ll be remembered for, but ultimately you don’t have a say in it.  Other people decide what they think your legacy is.

What your legacy could be is up to you.  You can try and be known as a record winner (most money, most medals, most countries conquered etc.) but all too often that’s something that can be conquered by someone else and then your legacy isn’t enduring.  So instead of trying for one of those superficial legacies, try for a legacy that will last such as being known for acts of compassion and great faith like Mother Teresa or never-before-seen courage and leadership like Nelson Mandela, or unique artistic talents like Picasso.  Of course, if you don’t really care what people might say about you after you die you can just continue on with your life however you want, but I think most of us would prefer to be positively remembered.  What do you want to be known for when you die?

“It’s very important that people know that I really enjoy everything that has happened to me. And I tell my kids… you’re not going to be the tallest, fastest, prettiest, the best track runner, but you can be the nicest human being that someone has ever met in their life. And I just want to leave that legacy that being nice is a true treasure.”  George Foreman

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