I love history. Specifically American History and even more so I love the Revolutionary War period. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Benjamin Rush and the list goes on and on. You could say that in some regards these men are heroes of mine.
They will forever be remembered and have left a legacy that will stand the test of time. There have been countless books written about these men, they are in our History books in school, some people have even based their Doctoral thesis around these men. They have been studied, documented and analyzed to the Nth degree. There are thousands of buildings, streets and parks named after them. In my mind they have reached the ultimate pinnacle of leaving a legacy, and deservedly so.
Were these men perfect? Were they without their flaws? Hardly so. However, they dedicated the better part of their lives to a higher cause. They risked everything. They laid it all on the line. Not only were their lives in danger but also the lives of those that they loved the most. It could have all ended much differently. They could have all gone down in history as traitors and ended up in jail for the rest of their lives or worse. But that is the risk they were willing to take. And the reward proved to be worth it. I believe that one of the greatest things we can do in this life is to leave a lasting legacy. One that changes the course of history. A legacy that forever changes your family tree.
Related: Why I created Millennial Legacy
It’s about more than money
Yes, I am very focused on the financial side of leaving a legacy but even money eventually fades. What we do with our lives in the short time that we are on this earth is our legacy. I want my great-grandchildren’s children to look back at family pictures and see a picture of me and say “that is the guy that changed our family tree. He is the one that dared to do something great, he risked it all because he knew that there was a need, there was a higher calling and he is the reason that I live this blessed life that I live. He changed the entire trajectory of our family tree.”
I believe every man chooses his own destiny but it would be ignorant to not believe that some are given a head start in life. Expectations are set higher for them from the very beginning. Not only is it expected of them to do something significant with their life but it is a disappointment if they choose to simply get by, to only exist, to not strive everyday to be better and to fulfill their God-given destiny.
Setting higher expectations
Take the Bush family for example. Regardless if you agree with their politics or not it is undeniable that the entire family has excelled in the world of finance and politics. Do you think that George H.W. Bush would have been OK with his son George W skipping college and going into some sort of manual labor job for the rest of his life? Of course not.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with manual labor but the Bush family had their sights set on something more. Their children have gone on to be State Representatives, Governors and President. You could argue that the Bush family has shaped the political culture of our country in recent years more than any other family in America. For good or bad is a whole other discussion to have but there is no doubt that it was expected that their children aspire to greater things, to set their sights on accomplishing more than the previous generation had.
What will your legacy be?
I’m not suggesting that we all have to succeed in political/public life in order for our legacy to be significant. It is just one of the most obvious, apparent and noticeable forms of leaving a legacy. Your legacy could be ending the alcoholism that has plagued your family for generations. You are putting your foot down and saying enough is enough. It ends here with me, right now. Your legacy could be graduating from college, the first to do so in your family. Your legacy doesn’t have to be one thing, it can be many different things. What legacy do you want to leave? In what ways do you want to change the trajectory of your family tree?
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