By Leo Babauta We do not like mayhem. It is uncertainty, bewilder, a feeling of groundlessness,...Read More
In my most recent post, I discussed the importance of refraining from living in our past. In this post I will talk about the necessity of looking ahead and being perceptive of one’s purpose and legacy. During today’s hectic time period of distractions via the technological vehicles of social media and opinionated news outlets, it can be extremely difficult to look ahead in ones life. Let alone, look ahead with a clear untampered perspective. As a plethora of topics and circumstances always appear to be buzzing around our heads, there seems to be rare moments in our busy days where we can set aside some time to properly focus on the grand scheme of things in its totality.
Oftentimes the topic of "purpose fulfillment" is brought up in the discussion about legacy, and the word "goals" is utilized as a foundational staple during "planning for the future" consultations. As stated by author David Krzensi in his book, Pedagogy of Purpose, he believes in the simplification purpose hinting at the amalgamation of legacy:
"...I suggest that purpose is not the profound and noble pursuit of the highly enlightened, but often is a more grounded and humble commitment to anything one finds meaningful. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the positive youth development approach that often circles back to the pedagogy of basic needs, establishing a synergy among the elements of pedagogy for restoration (173-183)".
This belief that purpose is ultimately the conclusion of "meaningful" self-fulfillment that can be exemplified in the teaching of youth, I can concur with as a result of my own youthful experiences. My own inner commitments to the driving force of athletic, calligraphic and artistic pursuits ultimately was a satisfying endeavor that put a smile on my face. That freedom of doing what you know is right for you to do in that moment. Positive and unabashedly fulfilling. It is from those roots that I believe a portion of legacy begins to formulate.
In my estimation, one's legacy can be defined in multiple ways that firstly generate from the intangible internal fortitude that resides within the person. Meaning, that the characteristics of one's true self is where the premature origins of a legacy are built, starting from youth. The case can be made that the inherent desire and actions upon good or evil can be molded by the adolescent rearing that takes place by the parents; causing the child's outlook to be shaped by what they are taught. I agree with this thinking, to an extent. Yes, children learn from their parents as well as other elements that they are exposed to.
However, I believe that each human being regardless of age, is equipped with a specific dosage of quality traits that manifest themselves situationally despite outside teaching or impressions. Some of us might have been more rambunctious than our peers, leaning towards leadership positions during recess and sandbox adventures. While some of us might have been more observational and quieter in nature. And those are just two types of personality traits. But when we consider the whole gambit of our human complexity, there is a seemingly countless array of unique characteristics, considering we all are multi-faceted. I believe that our legacy is centered in the middle of our present without the thoughts of the future clouding our potential for differing outcomes, on what we leave behind.
The understanding that certain aspects of myself on a DNA level will be passed down to my descendants, causes me to reevaluate my perception of life. I am living not only for myself but for those who come after me. Not to mention, honoring the predecessors of those passed who have paved the way in their lives for me to even have the luxury of coming to this realization. Characteristics, moral attributes, lifestyle, perception, all those areas are transplanted into my legacy in the way that I treat myself and others. In order for true planning and legacy to be properly intertwined, I must shed the shackles of stifling conformity and live liberated in the knowledge of the truth that during this time called "the present", I have to learn how to maximize my love for others and minimize my selfishness. The intangible inheritance on an internal level is worth far more than the tangible, which can come and go in a minutes notice. It is my belief that it is our duty to build our legacy not only specifically on the grounds of capitalistic necessity, but most importantly on the roots of self-accountability, integrity and a genuine love/respect for others, other than our immediate person. Learning to acquire the foresight and courage to accomplish things that will outlive you and positively affect the world at large and the people within it, is crucial to solidifying your legacy and properly utilizing your gifts to look towards a better tomorrow.
It is with these closing words that I believe the foundations of looking ahead and legacy can be found and or solidly built. I hope that my perspective was quality food for thought as well as inspiring in some fashion or another. Thank you for reading and have a magnificent rest of your day or night!
"Legacy is not leaving something for people.
It's leaving something in people." - Peter Strople
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone
monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." - Pericles