The notion of legacy washed through my consciousness several times recently. I took in the new flick, THE BOURNE LEGACY, which in my opinion did nothing to add to Robert Ludlum's real legacy as a prolific writer of mysteries, including the Bourne novels, which were full of rich levels of intrigue and character. This new one, not written by Ludlum, not so much.
CBS Sunday Morning did a profile on the late Marvin Hamlisch, celebrating his life legacy of music. As I watched it I remembered seeing Mr. Hamlisch live in Detroit when he conducted the orchestra for Barbra Streisand. I was moved to tears the way his music transported the audience down memory lane.
A compilation of web definitions describe a legacy as: An achievement that lives on after a person dies.
Hmm. To my way of thinking, a legacy is more than that. I would posit that it's born by living a life with a purpose of creating a legacy that has a ripple effect beyond us. In other words, be a living legacy - live your life in a way that leaves a lasting contribution, while you're still living.
Start by asking yourself the question, "How do I want to be remembered?"
Your own self-discovery will help answer that question. These might help:
- What talents are you known for? Is it a creative talent such as a writer, painter or musician; or a certain knowledge where you're an expert such as a scientist, engineer or economist?
- What special characteristics do you have that you're recognized for? Are you a wonderful teacher, or parent, or organizer?
- What kind of impact do you want to make? Look at the impact you currently have on people in your life, directly and indirectly. Don’t belittle the significance you have in your world already.
- Will your lasting impression help or change the greater good? How?
- What lessons have you learned that you find yourself organically teaching to others, whether it's merely giving a friend, child or parent advice, or whether it's a more global imparting of your knowledge?
Any or all of these help to comprise what is your legacy, your gift to the world.
Be a living legacy. And, remember that the actions you take, the words you speak, and the impressions you make launch a ripple that ebbs and flows, continuing long after you've moved on to the next action, word or impression. Armed with this knowledge, you're empowered to take an active role in creating the legacy you were born to create. Your born legacy.