What is a legacy? It can mean something old, outdated, or classic. It could be a throw back style, like legacy jerseys or Jordans or whatever. It can be someone who had a better deal than the current deal and has been grandfathered in. But it can also mean, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”
A parent can pass down more than wealth. They can also pass down work ethic, good habits, bad habits, parenting styles, and more. My sense of humor is a legacy passed down to me by my dad. I’m so much like him in that way, it’s scary. Or it can be annoying, if you’re my mom or my wife. It’s a little over the top when we get together for a holiday, and you have my dad, my two brothers, me, and my two nephews who all have the same sense of humor and similar personality. It all goes back to my dad. He passed it down.
So what do you want to be your legacy? What do you want to be known for? We will all be remembered for something, and for the most part, we can control what that is. You can write your own legacy.
In 1888 a man named Alfred lost his brother Ludvig died. A French publication errantly published Alfred’s obituary, though. The paper wasn’t too kind, admonishing him for his invention of dynamite. The obituary said, “Le marchand de la mort est mort,” which means, “The merchant of death is dead.” It continued, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred was distraught with what he read and wasn’t happy with how he would be remembered, so he decided to change his life, so as to be remembered differently.
Do you know Alfred? On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside most of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes. Nobel’s will allocated 94% of his total assets, 31,225,000 Swedish kronor, to establish the five Nobel Prizes.
Did any of you know anything about Dr. Nobel other than the fact that he established the Nobel prizes? I didn’t. So his legacy is that of peace and altruism, despite what it would have been had he died when his brother did. His legacy is what he has left behind. What do you want to leave behind? Do you want to be remembered for what you’ve already done or something else? For your mistakes or your successes? What do you want?