If you look back through history, it's clear, that most of the time, we remember great people for what they leave behind. They are remembered as great men and women because of what they built, not for what they destroy.
Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan are both remembered for constructing the largest empires that the world had ever seen, not for the millions of people who died, or the civilisations they destroyed along the way. William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Leon Trotsky are remembered for their great literary works, not for their moral failings, especially their terrible treatment of women. Likewise, Elizabeth Blackwell, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks are all remembered for the legacy they built up for future generations.
My point here is that we will be remembered for what we create. This might be a physical creation, or a legacy which outlives you and inspires others. Obviously, we’re very unlikely to be remembered in the same way as the above mentioned. We will all, however, be remembered by friends and family. Just because you don’t become famous, doesn’t mean that what you create won’t be significant and impacting.
What do you want to be remembered for? This is a question which I have been asking myself for a long time. I’ve been drifting between wanting to create something through politics, academia, literature and even business. Ideally I’d do it all, but obviously that never going to be possible. It seems to me that it’s important to have focus on what you want to achieve. When I’m vague on what I’m trying to achieve, I find that I drift without really doing anything. What I do know is that I want to create something worth remembering, a legacy, even if it’s only for my children.
What do you think? Do you need to know what you want your legacy to be, or is it OK to be more vague about it? Also, what would you like to be remembered for? What legacy, or creation, would you like people to associate with you?