The fallacy of leaving a legacy

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Day 527. I love personal development and am committed to personal growth. For the last couple of years a recurring theme has surfaced in most if not all personal development publications: leaving a legacy. Basically, think about what you will leave once you’re gone. I thought about it, trying to identify the one or two things that would make me live, work and play differently to leave the so-called legacy and I came to the following conclusion: there’s a deep confusion between doing our best possible work and working to leave a legacy.

Did Galileo Galilei want to leave a legacy? No! He wanted to prove the earth was orbiting the sun. And for that he did his best possible work.

Did Martin Luther King want to leave a legacy? No! He wanted equal rights for all. And for that he did his best possible work.

Did Marie Curie want to leave a legacy? No! She discovered radio-activity and wanted to use it to generate energy. And for that she did her best possible work.

I could go and on and on. All those famous individuals did not have the goal to leave a legacy, they had a goal to reach and delivered masterful work. Because they did masterful work and stand above many other individuals, they left a legacy. Legacy is not something YOU chose, is something you leave and OTHERS chose. Legacy is a product of your masterful work. Forget the legacy, focus on your art and craft, and day in, day out, produce the best for you and others. Legacy will follow by itself.

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