We all want to make our mark on this world. But how many of us are actually doing it? Maybe you think you are, or maybe you don’t, but it’s never too late to think about how you can make the world a better place. If you really want to leave a legacy after you’re gone, but you’re at a loss for what to do differently, remember these 7 things.
1. Teach empathy.
Empathy is a lost art, unfortunately. We live in a world where we teach people to be self-absorbed. If you don’t believe me, just look at social media. In essence, a “status update” implicitly says “Look at me! Look at me! I’m important and you’re not!” Not that there’s anything wrong with social media. But when we are so focused on getting attention from other people that we forget to show love and compassion for their pain, then I think it goes to far. So try to reach out to others and recognize their grief and struggles. Help them. Love them.
2. Spread kindness and positive energy.
People will remember you in one very simple way: how you make them feel. Do you lift them up? Do you make them feel better about themselves? Do they want to spend more time with you because they love your positive energy and outlook on life? Or, to the contrary, do people think you’re an “Energy Vampire” who sucks the life out of others? Do you whine, complain, nag, and repeat your negative “soap operas” over and over so much that you make people want to run for the hills and never come back? Hopefully you don’t do that. But even if you do, you have the power to change. Start choosing new thoughts and words. Make people feel happy that they know you—not the opposite.
3. Teach other people life lessons you have learned.
The older we get, the more we learn. When we are kids, we think we know everything—that is, until we really start experiencing life and eventually realize how little we actually do know. Did you have a phase in your life where you drank and partied so much that you almost flunked out of school? Or maybe you were in an abusive relationship until you woke up and decided to love yourself enough to walk away. If so, take those life experiences and pass down the lessons to the next generation. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be the next generation. Just pass them along to anyone who needs to learn what you did.
4. Put people first.
Our world values money—a lot. And not that there is anything wrong with money! Everyone loves money! But if you are so consumed with money, or power, or success (or anything else) that you forget how important people are, then you need to re-evauate your life. Treat everyone with love and respect—even your “enemies.” Treat the janitor the same way you would treat the president of the company you work for. Realize that everyone really just wants to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. It’s pretty simple. So live by the “Golden Rule” and do unto others as you would have done unto you.
5. Figure out your passion and do more of it.
Do you love creating art? Do you love writing? Do you love fishing? Whatever your passion is, do it more. You might even be able to find a way to channel it into a career. Perhaps you write in your journal or keep a blog just for the fun of it. But maybe you can find writer’s classes to teach you how to write that novel you always had in your head. If so, do it. There is nothing more beautiful when passion meets a life purpose. The more passionate people we have in the world, the better it will be.
6. Spend your money on experiences you will remember instead of on things you don’t need.
As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” In other words, money is wonderful, but you can’t take it into the next world when you die. When you’re gone, all people will have is the memories they created with you. So if you’re using your money to buy huge house just to impress people, then maybe you’re channeling your money in the wrong direction. Instead, maybe you should downsize your house and take your family on vacations. Those are the things people remember, so re-evaluate your priorities when it comes to spending your money.
7. Keep a healthy level of social media interaction.
Sure, it’s great to re-connect with lost friends and keep up with long-distance family members. But if you find that you are literally narrating your life on social media for the whole world to see, then maybe you’ve gone too far. If you’re on vacation with your family in Disney World but you have to stop every 5 minutes to take selfies and upload them to your social media sites, then you are missing the point of a vacation. Instead, be in the moment. Enjoy the NOW. There will be time later to upload those photos. So try to disengage from social media a little bit and come back to the real world more often. You’ll be glad you did.
Everyone’s lives matter. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that maybe you could change your ways just a little to make sure that you leave a positive legacy when you depart this world, then remember these things on a daily basis. That way, your life will have a positive impact for generations to come.