What will you leave for others when you are gone? This is a truly meaningful question. I’ve spoken to a number of people about this, and I’m interested in the variety of perspectives I’ve heard. Some think that it’s everything, and others think that your time here is what you get. Another way to think about legacy is…will people think about you when you’re gone? And, how will they think about you?
I do want to leave a significant legacy. And it really breaks down into two areas for me. Number 1… I want to somehow positively influence the people and world around me. And I want to do that for as long as possible. I take it on partly as a grateful gesture toward our ancestors. Look what everyone before us has provided us with. This is part of their legacy. And boy are we fortunate to be in the situation we’re in now. I also really subscribe to the philosophy that it’s my responsibility to move the world forward in a positive manner, in order to play my part in handing it off to the generations that follow. It’s a deep purpose that contributes to the success of humans. Number 2…I want others (mostly within my family or others interested) to be able to access information about me. This does come back to having a positive influence on others, but also speaks to the ability to connect with those that came before us.
I’ve done this in a previous piece of writing but feel it’s very effective:
What was the name of your father’s grandfather (his dad’s dad)?
What was his profession?
What were his hobbies?
Where did he grow up?
What was the name of your mom’s grandmother (her mom’s mom)?
What was she interested in?
Where did she go to high school?
Where did she travel to?
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the answer of any of these. Those people in my family, I’d say, didn’t leave much of a legacy. I haven’t done a lot of digging either. If I sat down with and asked my folks about it, they could certainly give me some more information. Maybe we could look through scrapbooks some. I bet it would be hard though, to even find a picture. It would certainly be difficult to find childhood details about these great grandparents. Well, I want my great, great grandchildren to have more information…to know more about what I was like…to realize where they get some of their mannerisms…and to be allowed an understanding of a deeper and wider, accessible connection to a history of folks before them.
Of course, technology has allowed this history to be more efficiently documented and collected. Hopefully, all of our digital and electronic copies of pictures and videos and words and audio will still be here in a couple of hundred years.
Strive for more legacy. By proxy, you’ll create more fulfillment and success for yourself. You’ll also have more of an effect on others…even those others that haven’t even been thought of yet.