Elon Musk is firing people off to Mars, but your legacy doesn’t have to be as impressive

As the planet completes another full rotation around its axis, and a new sunrise is followed by another sunset, it’s odd that we’ve decided to use the word “day” to articulate this entire phenomenon.

It seems like an understatement of our existence 🙂 

These “days”, which are defined by 24 hours, are neatly bundled into years, and if we get super lucky, we might get 80 of those before our number is up.

+/- 29 200 spins on the earth’s axis and the ride is over, folks. 

Sure, we don’t spend endless nights tossing and turning in bed, trying to figure it all out, but every single one of us has moments of quiet contemplation as we wrestle with questions regarding our mortality.

It’s the human condition, and it fills us with a certain level of anxiety because we don’t have the answers to these difficult questions. 

Don’t worry , because while so much is out of our control, there are a few questions we can ask and actions we can take while we have time on this beautiful planet.

How about this for a start?

What type of legacy do you want to leave? 

If you look up “leaving a legacy” this is what you are going to find:

  • Money or property that you receive from someone after they die. 
  • Something that is part of history or that remains from an earlier time.

That’s sterile and we think we can delve a little deeper.

Leaving a legacy is about making sure that you leave this earth having contributed.

A contribution is the keyword in all of this.

How are you going to spend your time making a difference, so one day someone will fondly remember your contribution?

That’s the question we want to answer.

Here’s the problem.

Most of us struggle with the idea of leaving a legacy because we are led to believe that only the rich and powerful can change anything in a world that’s dominated by dollars and euros, stock markets and bitcoins.

It simply is not true. 

Life is tough and we are all selfishly trying our best to feather our nests.

But what if we all decided that our legacy didn’t have to be something impressive, like building a billion dollar AIDS research lab?

It’s a noble idea, but how many of us will have that type of money in our lifetime? Realistically, only a handful.

What if we stripped it all back and decided to impact one life or one cause? What type of ripple effect might that have nationally or even globally?

  • Your legacy could be making sure someone in your family gets to go to university 
  • Your legacy could be starting a small business that employs five South Africans 
  • Your legacy could be donating your Saturdays to a local animal shelter 
  • Your legacy could be relocating people to Mars

Ok, the last point belongs to Elon Musk, who has a very clear idea of the contribution he wants to make to humanity, but that doesn’t in any way crumble or destroy  the impact of the point just above that, does it?

If you love animals and spending your time at the local shelter washing dogs and filling cat bowls with food is your way of giving back, then we figure that’s just as good as spending your time plotting a course to a dusty red planet.

If this post has stirred up a real sense that you want to do something that leaves a mark, long after you’ve gone, start by answering these 3 questions:

  1. What small difference can I make today?
  2. How much money and time (or both) will that require?
  3. What’s holding me back from committing to something? 

And even if you work out that right now you don’t have any time or money, your legacy could be the fact that you just treat everyone you meet with the kindness they deserve. 

Life is tough and our real jobs are simple – limit our suffering and then lend a hand to someone else who is in need.

What will your legacy be? We would love to hear your comments below.

Until next time 

The Wise About Life Team

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