Legacy is such a neglected word. When we hear legacy we often think of incredible people through history. People who lived such amazing lives that they live on long after they’ve died. Their legacy carries on for generation to generation.
We think that legacy is something that is reserved for only the greatest of lives, the biggest of people. We tend to forget that we have a legacy ourselves. Because our legacy is not famous or known by millions we think it doesn’t exist. But our legacy is actually deeply intertwined with who we are, who are parents were, and who our children are.
Legacy is more than just what we’re known for. Legacy is a part of who we are today and it’s a part of who our children will be tomorrow. Legacy is something that is passed down from one generation to the next. It’s what your parents handed to you when you were born and it’s what their parents handed to them. And eventually, it will be what you hand to your children.
Our legacies are the things that each generation of our family is passing on to the next. Think about things that were passed on to you from your parents. Maybe the way you talk or the way you do a certain thing. Maybe you drink coffee every morning, and so did your parents. Maybe you sleep in late, and so did your parents. Maybe you get up early, and so did your parents. Maybe you smoke, and so did your parents. Maybe you drink, and so did your parents.
These things are the things that are being passed down to you and represent what your families legacy is. Often times these things are passed down from generation to generation to generation. A cycle that’s never broken and repeats time and time again. And sometimes this can be good, right? Maybe our parents passed down love to us or maybe they passed down healthy eating habits.
But sometimes that legacy can be bad. Sometimes we can be passed down abuse or unhealthy habits. Sometimes we’re passed down a terrible work ethic or selfishness. Legacy isn’t always something positive but it is always passed to the next generation.
What makes legacy so important is that once you recognize the legacy that was passed to you. The good and the bad that came from your parents. You can start getting to work on growing that legacy. You can decide to say, “I’m not just going to repeat the same short comings of my parents and their parents before them.” Once you start to recognize the things that your legacy has brought you, you can start to build an even better legacy for your children.
The value in seeing the bigger picture like this is that not only can you start to improve and make your own life better, but you can start to develop a Selfless Why. Not only will you improve yourself, but that legacy will then be passed down from you to your children. And if that legacy is powerful enough, it will be passed down to their children and their children.
And one day your children and your grandchildren will look back at you and say, “Damn, grandpa was a bad mother fucker” or “Wow, grandma really knew how to bust her ass.” Your children and grandchildren will remember your legacy and they will strive to carry that same torch on to their children. And if your legacy is powerful enough, they too will be inspired to improve that legacy.
Don’t get caught up thinking that your life is just your life. Recognize that a legacy was passed on to you and now it’s time for you to decide what legacy you will pass on. Will you continue smoking, and drinking, and living an unhealthy, selfish life or will you change that legacy so that your children and their children can be handed a better legacy than you were handed?
What Legacy will you pass on?