What will be your legacy?

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
c. 495 – 429 B.C.

I’m going to pose a few questions. Take a minute or two to look them over and see how many you can answer. (For those readers who don’t live in the United States, you can substitute a similar event from your country for the ones I’ve named.)

  • What team won the Super Bowl in 2007? Who was the MVP (most valuable player)?
  • What team won the World Series in 2006? Who was the MVP?
  • What team won the College Football Championship in 2008?  Who was the MVP?

Unless you had some special connection with those events, you probably have no clue about the correct answers. For the participants, that achievement may have been the high point of their lives. But roughly ten years later, most of us have forgotten these accomplishments.

To bring it closer to home, where do you spend most of your time and energy? Is it with your career? Or might it be with the material things you can acquire, thanks to your work?

Here’s the real question I want to pose: what is most important in your life? What are you most concerned about from day to day?

I have no idea what life holds for you. But one thing is certain — life is finite. No one will live forever. And once life is over, how will you be remembered? What legacy will you leave?

When I look around, most people I see are primarily focused on accumulating things. They feel they will be judged by the status of their jobs, the economic success they attain, or the fame they achieve. But the truth is, people simply don’t remember our material successes.

If one of your goals in life is to be remembered, think of some of the more memorable figures in recent history: Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr. Why do we remember them? It’s not for the wealth they accumulated. We remember them for the service they gave to mankind.

If you want to leave a legacy, find ways to serve others. Do something to improve the world in some small way.

Instead of just getting by in life, find a way to make a difference. Leave a legacy. Make your life matter, even if it’s just for one person.

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.
Shannon Alder
1970 –

Copyright © 2018 John Chancellor


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