Originally Published July 11, 2008
In this practice that we call life, we are often left to consider the legacy that we might leave behind. Personally, I have been considering this question for many years….you see, often times your life can move in unforeseen directions, quickly and unexpectedly, and often all we are left with is ourselves and our place on this earth. Earlier this year, my 90 year old grandfather passed away. An incredible man, he transcended his humble upbringing as the son of Ohio farmers and moved to California to build a restaurant empire with little knowledge, education and, for sure, no money. Although he was an extremely successful person throughout his life, he never forgot what his values were and what was important to him. Over the years he earned and lost his fortune, but what always stayed with him was a certain type of respect.
At both of my grandparents funeral’s (my grandmother passed away 18 months prior to my grandfather), the things that people spoke about were deep and real….their strong values rooted in their unwavering faith, family values, philanthropic goals, business relationships and strong willed determination. With that being said, the superficial was not mentioned….it was all about the love, conviction and passion for the lives that they led.
So we are left with the question of the what, how and why? How do we want to be remembered???…..life is too short to be caught on the surface…many of us are struggling economically in this down market and watched our fortune slip away. But like the market fluctuates and changes, remembering that change is the only thing that we can count on might help us stay aligned with what we really want in our lives, what we want to be known for and how we want to REALLY live.
I think of some of the famous people in this world who have the MOST money….Bill Gates and Oprah are the first 2 that come to mind…although it might be foolish to say that people won’t remember that they were wealthy, what I can say that they WILL be remembered for is the good that they do…both Bill gates and Oprah are so dedicated to living a life aligned in accordance to their values…so much so that (and I might be modest in numbers here) hundreds of thousands of people’s lives have been changed and affected by their philanthropy, mentoring and vision. They had a choice….hoard their money and keep it to themselves and do their job but otherwise escape from their power to make an impact in the world OR use their wealth not only for themselves, but to make a difference in the world and align with what is good for humanity.
Don’t get me wrong…money really has nothing to do with it…no one will remember that you were the richest person on the block or that your abs were the super ripped, or even that you can float a handstand in the middle of a yoga room unsupported….what they will remember is the impact you had on their lives and how you lived your life…..and if they only remember you for the superficial than I am sorry for you…
Today, I challenge you to live your life with conviction and passion, open your mind and consider new things, do something kind for someone else, be a friend (truly and deeply) and make a difference, life is way too short! What are you waiting for? Its not too late!