We see it all the time. The press tells us that an ex-President or CEO is working on building his or her legacy. However, we notice that the first thing that person does is run out and hire a publicist. Then we see nothing but a series of photo-ops and P.R. events centering on the legacy builder.
The manifestation of your legacy is not really about you or how people remember you. It is about the impact you have made on others. The definition of manifest is “to make clear or evident, to reveal.” The only way to make your legacy evident is through action, the objective of which is the welfare of others.
You are not your legacy. You are the one who manifests your legacy. What is ultimately important is not the image of yourself that you leave behind, but the purposeful action that results in a positive impact on other people’s lives.
In the Bible, Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” He repeatedly used the analogy of “fruits” to represent a person’s works or service to others. The Dalai Lama has stated the same principle when he said, “The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our sense of well-being becomes.”
The legacy that is manifested is strictly a by-product, maybe even a reward for our part in making the world a better place. The quest to leave a legacy is ultimately inspired by love. Our love for our family, for our community and for our fellow human beings.
Unfortunately, to many people, legacy is about fame. We see people who aspire to be famous by being famous. Their legacy is printed on the covers of tabloids or in video archives. The true legacies are earned by those who made the world a better place, those who made a difference in people’s lives, those who made their communities better.
True legacies are recorded in the hearts of others, not on the printed page.