Saturday, July 20, 2013

Axiom 37: What is Your Legacy?

"Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day." -Billy Graham

Recently I watched an excellent documentary on the History Channel called, The Men Who Built America. This show is an absolute must watch for anyone interested in what it takes to become successful. It is a historical account of the great early American capitalists: John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and a few others.

It was interesting to learn that as rich as the early American capitalists were they were also very generous with their charitable donations. Today we still often see their names even decades after their deaths. This brings up an interesting topic of what it means to have a legacy.

If you stop for a moment and ask yourself, "What do I want my legacy to be?", you might find that the answer probably has little or no relationship to money. We often get so caught up in tying money to success that we often overlook the bigger picture.

One day you'll be gone and what will remain? The memory of how much money you had in your bank account or the effect you had on the lives of others?

Now I know it sounds weird I am mentioning the success of early American business people while preaching that money is not important but hear me out. When it came down to it and these guys made their fortunes they then looked to see what good they could do in the world. They gave a lot of their money away and ultimately changed their legacy in the process.

So I ask you again, "What do you want your legacy to be?" It's not something that can be crafted in a few days, weeks, or months. It's something that takes your whole life to define. It is the sum of the work of your life, good and bad. It is the quality of your friendships, family, and actions. It is the one question you can answer that will help you align all goals underneath. The one question that will not be fulfilled until your last day.