The vivid reality that each of us builds a legacy each passing day unknowingly, first struck in 2008 when I first read Stephen Covey’s book “ The seven Habits of Highly effective People”.
Because my editor won’t allow me enough space to reproduce the whole book or even a chapter to share with my readers, I wish to share a tiny fraction of wisdom from this book through this extract.
Here it goes “…, see yourself going to the funeral of a loved one. Picture yourself driving to the funeral parlor or chapel, parking the car, and getting out. As you walk inside the building, you notice the flowers…you see the faces of friends and family you pass along the way. As you walk down to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral, three years from today. All these people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life. There are to be four speakers. The first is from your family, immediate and also extended-children, wife, brothers, aunts, cousins…who have come from all over the country to attend. The second speaker is one of your friends…, the third speakers is from your work or profession. And the fourth is from your church or some community organisation where you have been involved in service. Now think deeply. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? Wha
t kind of husband, wife, father, or mother would you like their words to reflect? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember…what difference would you like to have made?”
As you continue reading this chapter, the author’s message is that whatever you want each of these people to say about you, start doing it now! So what kind of legacy do you want to leave?
More often we become engrossed in challenges of life that we hardly think about why we live and how we live. If you are reading this article I would like to encourage you to think about it because knowing how you want to be remembered may help us to decide how to live, work and relate with the society in which we live.
Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless your preaching is your walking.”
To leave a legacy of excellence, strive to be your best every day. As you strive for excellence you inspire excellence in others. You serve as a role model for your children, your friends and your colleagues.
One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards and behaviors of everyone around them. Your life is your greatest legacy and since you only have one life to give, give all you can.
Another legacy worth leaving is the legacy of encouragement. Each of us in our own areas of influence we have the potential to lift others up or bring them down.
Twenty years from now when people think of you what do you want them to remember? The way you encouraged them or discouraged them? Who will you encourage today?
Be that person that someone will call five, ten or twenty years from now and say “Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you”.
Our legacy is also influenced by our purpose and motive life becomes more meaningful if we use our strengths and talents for a purpose beyond ourselves. To leave a legacy of purpose, make your life about something bigger than you.
While you’re not going to live forever you can live on through the legacy you leave and the positive impact you make to others and to the world.
There is a saying that if you have a hammer as your only tool, you tend to treat everything as a nail! As such I find a lot of wisdom and pleasure in reading books and I would encourage each of us to write a book to share their professional skills, wisdom and experience with the posterity!
Franklin Benjamin once said “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
The writer is an educationist, author and publisher.