Your Greatest Legacy

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Image result for maya angelou and oprah winfrey

Have you ever been on LinkedIn, and felt like running far, far away?

I mean, it is an amazing app. I personally believe it is the best of them all (I do not joke with my LinkedIn at all)

I have met the most amazing professional contacts via LinkedIn, and built a formidable network there. I have also accessed career opportunities I had no business accessing, but for the gift that LinkedIn is.

However, sometimes the professional accomplishments of others can be a tad bit intimidating.

(Blood of Zechariah!)

With twenty-year-olds rolling out first-class PhD degrees (even as you “package” your college diploma), and entrepreneurs springing up billion-dollar innovative ideas, while floating their hot-cake companies.  

With everyone winning one award or the other, it could sometimes feel as though you are left far-far behind, and that which should challenge you to be better could (if not careful) push you into a place of frozen fear.

In the process of measuring our accomplishments by the yardstick of everyone around us, we sometimes forget to draw strength from how far we have come to where we are, on to where our life’s journey is taking us.

I know; I have been there.

In fact, I was there not too long ago. Yes, even with the fairly recent "accolades”, and hundreds of felicitations from people known and unknown.

It happens to even the strongest, and ‘happiest’ of us all. The nagging feeling inside, that we have not done enough, may never do enough, and that no matter how hard we strive, it will never be enough.

But then, I stumbled on this video by Oprah Winfrey that set me back straight.

Oprah had just started a school, and was proudly telling her friend the late (amazing!) Maya Angelou that this school will be her – Oprah’s - “greatest legacy”.

In response however, Maya told Oprah “You have no idea. You have no idea… because your greatest legacy is every life you touched”.

Honestly, at that point I just stopped the video. It was as though Maya herself had risen from the grave and slapped me into perspective.

The thing is while I was bent on ‘achieving’ the greatest awards (which in itself is not a bad thing), I had become distracted in moping around for not hitting certain self-actualising goals I had set for myself and in the process, had lost sight of that which should be MY greatest legacy:

Touching lives.

As though a confirmation of what Maya (through Oprah) was saying, I received an email from an old friend, of how my article on “For the Strong woman” had helped her (and was helping her) through a dark period.

I cried when I read that email. And I drew strength from it also.

For all the days I had contemplated shutting down the blog, wondering “who reads this sh*t anyway?”, this was more than enough reason to keep going on.

That while I may never draw traffic to my blog like the TMZs and Linda Ikejis of our world (especially considering my declared love and dedication to my nine-to-five career), I have been the candle in someone’s darkness, without even knowing it.

In that moment, the first book that St. Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth (chapter 13, verse 1) made sense to me; that “if I speak all the tongues of men or angels, but I do not have love, I am nothing but a noisy drum or a clanging cymbal”.

If we built the world’s tallest skyscrapers, and became the highest paid, most sought after professional on earth, without having touched another’s life positively, then the “greatness” of our legacy is questionable.

This video has reminded me – and I hope you too - that the sum of all our achievements should boil down to changing the lives of others for the better. So that after we have long gone, we are remembered for the good we sowed in others, rather than just the (financial) wealth we amassed for ourselves.

This is by no means an exaltation of mediocrity and/or encouraging laziness. Rather, this is to put things in perspective; that even if you have not “achieved” what the world generally views as success, do not be dismayed.

As you daily keep striving to be the best version of yourself possible, be conscious of and engaged in positively affecting the lives of the people around you, one life at a time, thereby building the best legacy possible.

The legacy of Love.

Always remember that true success does not lie in what you have amassed, but the lives you have touched positively, the people you have shown kindness, and the amount of love you have spread in this cold, cruel world.

To borrow a line from Diana Ross, “After all is said and done, Love is all that matters”.




Video Credit: - Bloomberg

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