“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson, Canadian pioneer
Quincy leans back in his office chair. It’s his last day on the job, and he takes a moment to reflect upon his achievements – and his regrets. He’s troubled by the feeling that time has passed by in a blur, and that he’s missed his chance to build something that will endure.
Like Quincy, many of us lead hectic lives, and this makes it hard to see beyond the demands of the present moment. But, if you pause to assess your priorities, and take a longer view, you may achieve something bigger – a lasting legacy.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can start to build your legacy straight away, and why doing so can bring benefits in the present, too.
How to Develop Legacy Thinking
People often think of a “legacy” in terms of money or property left in a will, or passed down through generations. But your legacy can also be a measure of your impact on other people: how they think, what they say, and what they do as a result of having known you.
With legacy thinking, you “start with the end in mind.” You identify the long-term impact that you’d like to make, and then assess the changes that you need to make to reach that point.
This enables you to work toward your legacy throughout your life, rather than considering it only in retrospect. This approach is covered in one of the classic books on personal development, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.”