What Will Your Legacy Be?

While perusing magazines at the local supermarket recently, I came across an amazing scene. I quickly learned that even after his passing, Robin Williams can still make me laugh.

Matt Norton
Matt Norton

While this is hilarious, it has also caused me to reflect on my own life and wonder what my legacy will be.

What is a legacy? According to the definition supplied by Merriam-Webster, a legacy is: “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” In simple terms, when people think of you, what will they remember? What will they think?

The good news? Our legacy is one of the few things in this life that is eternal. Good or bad, people will think of your interactions, values, beliefs, LONG after you are gone.

The bad news? ONE THING can change your legacy forever.

For instance, when I state the name “Rock Hudson,” what thought comes to mind?

For me, the first thought was the “actor that died from an AIDS-related illness.” I didn’t think of the successful acting career he had or his being voted Star of the Year, Favorite Leading Man, and similar titles by numerous film magazines. Instead, I thought about something trivial. The same scenario can be repeated with other individuals, such as Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Whitney Houston.

I wonder why we remember the bad or negative things more so than the good things or accomplishments that a person does.

What will people remember of me? What will define me in the thoughts of others?

I believe in Karma and I believe that if I focus on the negative aspects of others, then the same will be done to me. If I strive to see the good in others and not point out the obvious unremarkable downfalls, then I believe people will do the same when they think of me.

I wish we lived in a world where positive accomplishments and acts of kindness were mentioned louder than singular negative actions. I wish stories of generosity and love were spread as rampant as the stories of negativity.

Robin Williams was an incredible actor, comedian, father, and husband. I wasn’t aware of the specifics but he has received an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards. But, if you asked anyone how he died, they would be able to tell you that he committed suicide. Why do we focus on the trivial aspects? To be honest, I don’t have an answer.

I can’t change the world’s fascination with “dirty laundry,” but I can follow Ghandi’s wisdom and “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I hope that people remember my accomplishments instead of the times that I made a poor choice. I hope that my legacy is for seeing the positive aspects in others.

What will be your legacy? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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