As winter draws in I’ve been thinking about Ebenezer Scrooge’s experience in the tale ‘A Christmas Carol’. Do you remember it?
The Ghost of Christmas Future gave Ebenezer a glimpse of his destiny – and he saw how people remembered him and talked about him. He had an insight so that he could see how his legacy was shaping up, and had the power to change it if he wanted to.
Have you thought about what your legacy would look like? How would people remember you and talk about you?
No matter your religion or faith there’s an important life lesson in the story of Ebenezer.
The things that matter to you, what you do in life, how you live and work and how you make other people feel will ultimately comprise your life’s legacy and how you’ll be remembered.
If you ask most people, they’ll say they want to be remembered fondly by others in years to come. But how do we put this fondness into words? It can be difficult to, because it’s such a big question and open to so much interpretation. Many things will spring to mind, some deep, some superficial.
So how do you begin, or stay on the path to being remembered in the way you want to be?
For me, it begins with reflection, really examining how you have lived your life up to this moment and the way you’d describe yourself. Think about it, what words, phrases and sentiments ring true? Are there some you are happy with, and are there others you’d like to change?
You might want to be remembered for your achievements whether that’s becoming the best in your profession, making history or breaking a world record, for your kindness to others, for putting family first… the list is endless.
The most promising path to achieving how you want to be remembered is through dedication, pursuing your goals and thinking of others, humility, nobility and self-sacrifice. The following qualities and traits are all positive ways to achieving the so called ‘immortal’ legacy of fondness.
Be passionate – you’ve heard the phrase ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. Be passionate and enthusiastic in everything you do – positivity and passion are infectious.
Build others up – think about what you can do to help other people and encourage them to help themselves.
Be honourable and act with integrity – reputation (other people’s perception of you) is how you’ll be remembered.
Give rather than take – generosity makes its mark on history.
Love your family and friends and nurture relationships – it might sound obvious, but perhaps the bible says it best: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Celebrate – create a culture of celebrating the little and big things in life – make memories, traditions and mark achievements – both personal and of those around you.
Find a wrong and a right – be an advocate for what you believe in and allow it to guide you through life.
Do what matters – and don’t put off the things that you want to achieve.
Ebenezer had the good fortune to see the future and change it. I don’t think any of us will be getting a visit quite like he did, but we can reflect on our legacy and change our destiny.
Have you thought about how you want to be remembered? Are you that person yet? Or do you want to change the way you live today, so that you can influence the legacy you leave and be remembered how you truly want to be?