What is Your Legacy?

Something I think about quite regularly as time passes is Legacy. What will I leave behind?

In historical terms, a legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time.

I have a huge fear of failure. I am afraid that I could go through this one life we have, achieve very little and die without leaving anything behind for anyone to remember me. Hence why I have the following quote locked to my blog page:

The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but living without a purpose

Having a Platform to begin

Legacy for the majority of the world will be based on reproduction. Raising a family and passing on your knowledge, experience and wisdom onto your children. Leaving behind teachings and memories to your kids of what you achieved, how you achieved it and what it meant to them that you made something of your life.

But is having a family and raising them, enough to count as a legacy? In a world where success is defined by the amount of money we earn, the cars we drive and the property we own; how can those who aren’t so fortunate feel like they have achieved and left behind a strong legacy after they have passed?

This all comes as a very relevant situation to me as I watch both my parents get older and notice that neither are happy at all with how their lives turned out. My parents made mistakes throughout their lives, and while we can’t turn the clocks back, I wish both of them were able to look back, acknowledge they made mistakes, move on and try to live out the rest of their lives feeling a significant level of accomplishment.

I still have two parents (separated), who raised me and my brothers well, however I can’t help but wonder if my goals, understandings and outlook on life would be different if my parents hadn’t shown such negativity as if the world was out to make their lives harder. I can understand why my parents are bitter about life and it is based upon the feeling that they are now in their sixties and the dreams and aspirations they had some years ago, have now faded, yet is this what they consider to be their legacy?

With my Brother and My Dad

I sit here knowing that I have grown up and learned from the mistakes that they made and from the decisions my older brothers made in their lives. Although my brothers are happy with how things have panned out for them as they both have beautiful children; I believe, had they been guided by a positive outlook that derived from a feeling of achievement set before them by our parents; they would have been able to make better judgement of the situations they were placed in and the decisions they ended up making.

Is it our parents’ responsibility to provide an example of strong leadership and guidance to their children as they are growing up?

At 26 years old, I am in the early stages of my career journey, striving for the next level of success with every opportunity that presents itself. Anyone that has read my blog over the last year, will know what projects I have been involved in and should have a good understanding of the type of character I present, the moral values I represent and the energy I have to move forward. But where do we get these characteristics from?

In the current economic climate, the evolution of modern technology and social media and the lack of job openings upon leaving education, the formula for casting out your success appears to have shifted.
Is education through to University the way to go or are we encouraged to teach leadership, management and interpersonal communication skills from grassroots so our children are able to create opportunities for themselves and not have to rely on the system?

With my Mum at my Graduation

I wasn’t taught any of the above skills from my parents. As a child I was timid, bullied and would always look to my older brothers for support. You know the line ‘I’ll get my older brothers on to you?’ Well yeah, that was me on a regular basis. My Dad was strict as his Dad was to him and my Mum spent the majority of mine and my brothers’ childhood overprotective. Living in fear I believe.

What legacy did my parents leave behind?

My parents’ legacy appears to be a set of lessons to be learned. Yep, no house, Maserati or safety deposit box of riches unfortunately.

  • I learned fundamentals such as family values and being protective of your loved ones.
  • I learned that the example set before me had both positives and negatives but I gained an incredible amount of strength and courage.
  • I learned that without my childhood I wouldn’t be so passionate about connection, networking and helping others to achieve.

It is within our childhood that we learn our fundamental traits that mould our behaviour for our adult life and it is to my childhood that I have looked for answers as to who I am today.

I am old enough to know that my parents’ decisions were their’s and are not my responsibility even though I have spent a lot of time trying to help them and find solutions to their unhappiness.

I believe that I cannot dwell on this any further, and in writing this for public viewing I am opening a door that I have yet to walk through and a down a path that is unknown.

I know it is my time to make my own decisions without any influence and continue on my journey to create my own legacy; for myself and for my family. I have taken the knowledge and wisdom that was installed in me from my childhood, having watched my parents and my brothers ahead of me and will strive to make a success where those around me may have not.

I know I will make mistakes; that is a part of life. However, I will try to learn from them, putting behind any sour moments and not living in regret because life is too short, and I have a legacy to leave behind.

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  • http://www.commsthoughts.co.uk Mazher Abidi

    Thought provoking stuff Luca.

    In one of those father son moments years ago when I was leaving home my dad (who I’m quite proud of and has achieved so much in his life I think) always said to me that both in career and life generations always need to grow. So future generations should always have the aim of progressing the family, of growing and of trying to achieve more than the generation before them.

    I’m starting to understand that more as I get older and it’s one of those strange things that people use to motivate themselves. Something that just sort of sticks.

    That’s how my dad sees legacy – to leave behind an improved generation. I think it’s my duty to carry that out.

    • iAmLuca

      Thanks for the comment Maz.

      We have only just connected so I appreciate the immediate effort.

      I 100% agree with your Dad’s vision and you definitely should be proud him.
      I have no doubt having read the content on your blog that you are already on your path to succeeded him and creating your own powerful legacy.

  • http://flavors.me/silverfox IamSilverFox

    I think you’ve given people the green light to actually think about what it is that they have done in terms of making an impact during their lifetimes.

    It’s a daunting prospect to consider, that I may leave this life not having made a significant difference to someone else’s life, and even worse, that I may be forgotten.

    Our lives are so short and insignificant as they are in the grand scheme of things. However, I believe all of us, each in our own way, leaves a mark that is true to them, on this life and those around us.

    We are not our parents, and although we may choose to honour their traditions and expectations (like Mazher and I seem to agree upon) we are also not our parents and should seek to create a legacy separate from what family and a surname may provide.

    You are a great example of what I consider to be a self made man. With all due respect to the good people who raised you, you have learned to carve a unique path for yourself through life from a very early age.

    From what I can see Luca, you’ve made an impact on everyone you have met, and continue to do so. You touch those you meet (not like that, cheeky) and those who invest time in getting to know you.. those are the lucky ones.

    Your legacy is already being built, and I have no doubt, be it your children or those you have met along your path, will carry on said legacy.

    You will never be insignificant and I think anyone who knows you in the slightest realises, you are anything but a failure. You are a model for success and I can not wait to see you shine.. even more than you already have.

    (emotional quote, over.)

    • iAmLuca

      As always you make me smile with your comments and play to my ego with your stupidly kind words.

      In the comment above alone, there is so much wisdom.

      This line:

      “Our lives are so short and insignificant as they are in the grand scheme of things. However, I believe all of us, each in our own way, leaves a mark that is true to them, on this life and those around us.”

      That for me says it all. You can leave emotional quotes all day and I will continue to enjoy reading them as you have such a beautiful way with words.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read my piece and glad it encouraged you to write. 🙂

  • http://www.bluechampions.com BlueChampion

    Very interesting post! Am I thinking about the legacy I might leave behind? Honestly, no. After I die, this world doesn’t exist. Nothing does. I’m more concerned about how I spend my life than how I’m perceived after my death.

    I too have heard this – generations need to keep getting better and better – in education, in career and in wealth. I’d say this is a simple but narrow way of defining a good life – education, career and wealth. Our parents have come through the tougher periods – the periods of survival, the periods where they had to fight for the essentials. They are from the era of survival, hence their definition of legacy would be very much material. They are totally right in their expectation on us to take the family/generation ‘further’.

    Now we are living in a totally different era. What used to be a luxury for my parents is a bare minimum for me now. Hence, I’d no longer allow legacy be defined by education, career or wealth. I’d have no problem if my daughter/son is less educated or less wealthy than I am. But that’s how the society will see it. If you can’t outperform your father, you’ll be seen as a failure. But I wouldn’t set such benchmarks for my children.

    Personally, the legacy I want to leave is not about money, not about prosperity. It’s about what and how I contribute to people. In business terminology, I look at what value I provide to the people that I know – my family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances – or just about anyone I deal with. It is this principle of being of some value to others makes me more fair and true rather than nice and false.

    With every single person that I get to deal with, I’m passing on my legacy. I’ve added ‘something’ to them. The legacy that I try to spread across is my approach to people. For instance, among other things, I spread this mantra about, ‘being fair and honest without being impolite or rude’. I love seeing how people transform as they learn the art of dealing/working with people.

    I believe this is my contribution to the people I know and I’m sure such things are more valuable that some of those material alternatives.

    As SilverFox said, “each in our own way, leaves a mark that is true to them”. I’d be very curious to see what my children come up with and how they choose to leave their mark!