How to Leave a Legacy

What is the meaning of your life? If you don’t know the answer to this question, it is time to do some soul-searching. Day to day living, enjoying the company of friends and family, and working an honest day are good, but for overall contentment you need commitment to a higher purpose.

Yesterday my partner and I were discussing whether our life would be considered fulfilled if one of us were to die tomorrow. What would be said at my funeral? I don’t want the thing people remember about me to be that I had great fashion or was friendly. I’d like them to say that I stood up for what I believed in, and I tried to make the world a better place. That’s my life purpose. That’s my legacy.

That purpose, the thing that excites you, which has you up at night thinking of solutions, and which stirs your blood, is the meaning of your life. Everyone’s time here has a different meaning. Elon Musk’s purpose was to create Tesla, which was almost bankrupt several times. He pushed development beyond what everyone believed possible. My grandfather’s life passion was to create a religious TV station. He breathed, ate and slept thinking about his channel, and talked about it and watched the station constantly. Now that he’s passed, that has become his legacy.

Rainbow of rocks set along a clear blue sky
Overlooking the Grand Canyon during the winter

“You were born to do more than just pay bills and die.”

Chasing Sunrise

Don’t know what your passion is? Here are some ideas to awaken your life purpose.

  1. What’s something you are oddly attracted to? Try it! Even though everyone said I was too old, at age thirty I decided to start learning the violin. Even my most squeaky, most basic practices gave me a large amount of enjoyment.
  2. What stirs your heart? In my early twenties I’d worry about the effects of my car idling while stuck in traffic. Why was I so passive? I could have been joining Greenpeace, who I work with now. Getting rid of the car reduced my stress around my polluting tendencies. Follow your heart.
  3. The crazier the better. If there’s something you really want to do, and are not dissuaded by people telling you, “that’s crazy,” you’re on to something. In 1980, Terry Fox made a commitment to raise money for cancer research by running across Canada in the Marathon Hope. Pretty ambitious, especially as he was using an artificial leg as he lost his real one to cancer. Now people take part in smaller-scale marathons to raise money for his foundation every year. How’s that for a legacy?

Whatever your life purpose, it should be making the world a better place. To have a positive impact on the world, to show compassion to the less fortunate, or to do good to strangers are noble causes. What do you want your life legacy to be? Start working on doing it today. Because a series of days at a desk ain’t changing the world.

1 Comment

  1. Kayla Sloan

    January 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I really like this post – it’s a thinking post because it makes you examine what is important in your life so you can make changes to make it better. I like the idea of leaving behind some kind of legacy. Otherwise, as you pointed out, what are we here for?

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