I’ve often heard the question: If you were to die today, what kind of legacy would you leave behind?
I prefer to ask myself another question, though: Because I know that I’m going to die someday, what am I going to contribute to my legacy today?
There are many things that we can contribute to life today. Encouraging, teaching, helping, giving, sharing, loving, smiling, being patient. . . . none of these are all that difficult to do, and all of them can leave a positive mark on the lives of other people with whom we share this planet.
Our legacy doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with money or major contributions to charities. Perhaps our legacies won’t have anything to do with money at all. Perhaps I’ll be remembered as a person who helped others to push ahead in life simply through encouragement and teaching. Maybe people will remember me as someone who gave of his time and energy to help others reach their goals and make their lives more fulfilling.
And perhaps I won’t be remembered at all. But that’s okay, too–some of the most important legacies of all never shall be recognized as the valuable contributions to our world that they are. This is often the case with people who have devoted themselves to being loving, compassionate parents, or people who have worked their whole lives long behind the scenes, never getting or taking credit for what they do.
But the bottom line is this: In order to make my legacy what I’d like it to be, I must work at it, help it to grow, and continue to contribute to it. So what can I do today to add to my legacy? One day I will surely die, and what will I leave behind as my contribution to this world and the animals, people, and plants that live in it?