To be honest, I don’t want to be in my 80’s surrounded by high achievers and think to myself: what did I ever do? Or how will I be remembered? I want to accomplish things that I can be proud of and to justify my actions on this planet. I want to know that my working hours meant more than just a way to pay my bills. In short, I want to leave a legacy.
Please don’t think I’m taking myself too seriously or being narcissistic in any way. I simply want to add more purpose to my life and to have a guarantee that any struggles I may face will be worth it in the long run.
What will be your legacy?
Have you ever thought about this? Or are you not at that stage yet. Do you just want to find that illusive job or loved one? I can understand that but imagine if those two aspects formed part of something bigger by way of a legacy. It could give you so much more meaning to your everyday life. It could also lead to an energy you’ve never felt before.
Just so that we’re on the same page, allow me to define legacy in my words:
Something positive that you leave behind that leads to the betterment of others. Something that changes the perspective of others in a revolutionary and inspirational way.
It could be a product, service or person. It will be your way of achieving immortality and it’s open to everyone!
This is not about becoming a superhero. This is when the hard work you put into your life culminates in something special that can outlive you. It is something you can be proud to leave behind and should alleviate some fears surrounding death.
So why think about all of this?
In my opinion, too many of us coast through life doing lame impressions of others. To remedy this, I think we all need a cause or a purpose. Until we find it, we are in a state of intellectual mute. We operate at 50% of our total resources and think we are giving life our all. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that, as a lot of people are happy with this level of commitment to life. But if you’re like me, and you meet someone with a purpose, you tend to question your life’s work. You start to see what it could be full of: Passion, commitment, desire and inspiration. Values that promote the total use of your resources.
How can we get started?
I believe that once you start thinking about your legacy it will force you to think long and hard about key decisions you make. The job that guarantees you money with little stimulation, the relationship that feels more convenient than loving or even the challenge of moving abroad that comes with a lot of risk. Once you take care of these decisions you are on the road to creating your legacy. You should ask yourself after every decision: will this inspire me to give my all?
Ways to create a legacy
I believe that there are five main arenas that allow us to create legacies:
This is quite obvious but can easily become neglected. Think about your job and ask yourself – what will I leave behind? You will spend the majority of your life doing your job so is it worth your efforts? Remember, this is your life! It’s sacred, it’s beyond important. What percentage of your resources are you operating with? 50, 60, 70%? Look around you – does anyone inspire you? Will anyone force you to become better than what you are? When you’re undertaking a task are you stimulated? These are all great questions to get you going on your journey.
If your job is centred around the accumulation of money that helps to provide you and your family with security, or perhaps the finer things, then great. That would be your legacy – the provider. It’s a tough one to create in today’s world so I salute you. The next stage could be to help provide happiness and security for others. It could be a great way to create a far greater legacy that extends to many more people.
This may sound far-fetched but it really isn’t. Take me, I enjoy reading and writing. I’ve been doing it for years and never once thought about my legacy. It is when a family member suggested I start a blog, that I began thinking about it. I thought if I could share my life lessons that have helped and inspired me, I could help someone in the future, thus creating a legacy. The internet provides us with great ways to live forever because once it’s out there…it’s out there! Think about all the beauty, fitness and spiritual channels on YouTube. They aim to essentially share knowledge (and make money I’m sure). Maybe there is a passion or skill that you can share with the world? Even if it helps one person, in my eyes, it’s still a success.
This is the big one. The Dalai Lama says the key to happiness is service. I genuinely believe this. Finding ways to serve others is a great way to leave a legacy. Teaching a child how to read, a nurse or doctor helping someone recover from illness, or undertaking a voluntary project abroad that creates clean water for a village. There’s a potent sensation that engulfs your body when you help someone. This sensation is called inner happiness. Why? Because subconsciously you know you’re creating your legacy.
Lots of people see themselves in their children. They want to right the wrongs from their own lives and will stop at nothing to create better, mini versions of themselves. This gives rise to the pushy parent! They know (deep down) that their children represent their best way of achieving immortality through legacy. This unfortunately affects the progression of the child beginning their own journey.
On the other hand, there are parents who understand this point and simply provide excellent conditions for their children to grow. They allow their children to find their own passions and interests without the pressure of them fulfilling their parent’s legacy. I find that these parents have often created their own versions of immortality through their work or passions. Therefore they are not so desperate to unfairly map out their children’s lives.
When I realised this I could understand how some philosophers conceptualise attraction. They say people want attractive partners simply to gain ‘beautiful’ children and essentially a ‘beautiful’ legacy.
What if it’s too difficult?
This is such an important question because fulfilling a legacy comes with hard moments. All of the historical greats had these but what separates them from us, is desire. If you really want to achieve something then you must unleash the desire you need to accomplish it. I believe we all have it; we just need to find the cause that brings it out in us! Don’t be disheartened when things don’t go to plan. A legacy is something that can outlive you, so it’s going to be difficult to realise. Just continue to find creative solutions by interacting with the world around you. Use books, the internet, people and history to inspire you and you’ll find yourself back on track.
Your legacy might seem like something not worth thinking about or premature. But speaking as a person who is on the journey, I can say that it can change your life. You will have purpose, a sense of direction and most importantly, you will answer some of those questions you’ve conveniently pushed to the back of your mind. A worthwhile legacy is not reserved for the Nelson Mandelas or Steve Jobs of this world; it’s open for you too. Good luck!
As always thanks for reading,
Young Philosopher BCN