Happy New … Legacy

Jan 8, 2009 | Business

Happy New Year everyone! I decided to delay this posting until a few days after the New Year actually started in order to give us all time to “settle in.” Flush with the excitement of champagne corks popping and fireworks lighting the sky, it is a bit too easy to make resolutions based only on emotion.

For instance, how long does the average diet last? Until we get hungry, of course.

What we really desire (this time of year especially) is to make a decision with lasting results—a decision that actually changes our life and our legacy.

So, if you died today … what would your legacy be?

On April 13, 1888, a man named Alfred woke up early that morning in Paris. While eating breakfast, he began to read the newspaper and was astonished to discover his own obituary on page 3. Naturally, it was a mistake, for in fact it was Alfred’s brother Ludwig who had died.

As a result of this error, Alfred was afforded a rare opportunity—a chance to see how he would be remembered. And he didn’t like what he saw. As David Zacks writes in An Underground Education:

“Alfred was shocked to see himself portrayed as the Merchant of Death, the man responsible for escalating the arms race. Even though he had made high-powered explosives much easier to use and was proud of how this power had been unleashed to mine precious minerals and to build roads, railways, and canals.”

The obituary portrayed him as a “monster” whose discoveries “had boosted the bloody art of war from bullets and bayonets to long-range explosives in less than 24 years.”

Stunned, but propelled into action, Alfred hatched a shrewd plan. Determined to change his current image and future legacy, he used his time and profits from the explosives to create an annual prize—for peace.

Today, few of us connect the creator of that prize to “the art of killing”. And that, my friend, is just what Alfred Nobel intended.

Again … if you died today, what would your legacy be?

How would you be described physically? Would anyone mention a specific habit or addiction in connection with your life?

Whether today, next month, or years from now, your legacy will one day be set in stone. What will we say you did? Who will we say you were? What difference will we celebrate that you made?

Your legacy is what you make it.

And the most important part of your life … begins now.



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