As we focus on our Wisdom Note today, we must realize that each day on our trek of life can be challenging and full of unexpected detours and obstacles. While some days will be sunny and bright and give us the feeling that we can literally conquer mountains, there will be other days that are cloudy when the cold wind and rain blow against us to the point that it is difficult to move forward.
If we anticipate and prepare for both the sunny and rainy days, regardless of what we are facing on a particular day, we will keep in mind our ultimate destination and keep moving forward. This week’s trail is an extension of what we discovered last week, but from a slightly different perspective. We will put our power of observation to the test once again and look for the 9 signposts that will help us to be creating and living our legacy each day.
As your guide and mentor in our weekly Wisdom Notes, I am a bit of a philosopher and also love principles. Yes, actions are great, and I talk about them regularly. But, the important stuff is what lies underneath, which are our principles or precepts – the very foundation from which our actions grow.
These are the principles we must commit to in order to create and live the legacy we desire.
1. Life is best lived in service to others.
This doesn’t mean that we do not strive for the best for ourselves. It does mean that in all things we serve other people, including our family, co-workers, and friends. We should practice what has been called “Servant-Leadership” as described in Matthew 20:25-28, “But Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”
2. Consider others’ interests as important as your own.
Much of the world suffers simply because people consider only their own interests. People are looking out for number one, but the way to leave a legacy is to also look out for others.
3. Love your neighbor even if you don’t like him.
It is interesting that Jesus told us to love others. But he never tells us to like them. Liking people has to do with emotions. Loving people has to do with actions. And what you will find is that when you love them and do good by them, you will more often than not begin to like them.
4. Maintain integrity at all costs.
There are very few things you take to the grave with you. The number one thing is your reputation and good name. When people remember you, you want them to think, “He/she was the most honest person I knew. What integrity!” There are always going to be temptations to cut corners and break your integrity. Do not do it. Do what is right all of the time, no matter what the cost. Remember Proverbs 10:9, “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.”
5. You must risk in order to gain.
In just about every area of life, you must risk in order to gain the reward. In love, you must risk rejection in order to ask that person out for the first time. In investing you must place your capital at risk in the market in order to receive the prize of a growing bank account. When we risk, we gain. And when we gain, we have more to leave for others.
6. You reap what you sow.
In fact, you always reap more than you sow—you plant a seed and reap a bushel. What you give you get. What you put into the ground then grows out of the ground. If you give love, you will receive love. If you give time, you will gain time. It is one of the truest laws of the universe. Decide what you want out of life and then begin to sow it. Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
7. Hard work is never a waste.
No one will say, “It is too bad he was such a good, hard worker.” But if you aren’t they will surely say, “It’s too bad he was so lazy. He could have been so much more!” Be an example of hard work each day, and you will live a grand legacy. Give it your all on your trip around the earth. You will do a lot of good and be creating a terrific legacy.
8. Don’t give up when you fail.
Imagine what legacies would have never existed if someone had given up. How many thriving businesses would have been shut down if they quit at their first failure? Everyone fails. It is a fact of life. But those who succeed are those who do not give up when they fail. They keep going and build a successful life—create and live a legacy.
9. Don’t ever stop in your pursuit of living a legacy.
Many people have accomplished tremendous things later on in life. There is never a time to stop in your pursuit of creating and living a legacy. Sometimes older people will say, “I am 65. I’ll never change.” That won’t build a great life! No. There is always time to do more and achieve more, to help more and serve more, and to teach more and to learn more. Keep going and growing that legacy!
These are core principles to live by if you want to become the kind of person who creates and leaves a lasting legacy. Your legacy is what you live each day and then remains on earth even after you’ve passed away through the lives of generations to come. Learn more on how to understand, choose, focus, and live yours.