What does it take to leave a lasting legacy? There are many different thoughts on what is a lasting legacy.
Consider These Thoughts:
"My work... is my legacy."
"My buildings will be my legacy... they will speak for me long after I'm gone."
Fund A Program
Some would suggest that you need to be able to fund a building for the arts, or to pay for a statute, or to lend your name to a special program that serves the community. Some would give money to social programs or to a local foodbank. Others, may contribute on an on-going basis to a community centre, or to a hockey rink for children, or to a senior's club or home. Some as well, ensure they offer enough resources that their name appears on a park bench, or on a nature trail.
Maybe some of these suggestions would leave a legacy of note but each of these may fade with the passing of time. Is there another way?
Money For A Bursary
Well, if you had enough money, you could contribute to a bursary fund for higher education in a chosen field. We often observe that these bursaries are from notable statespersons, or celebrities, or wealthy business people. Many of these bursaries are intended for a specific area of study so that the donator's past involvement in a particular field stays alive.
As long as the original amount of money given was managed properly, and invested wisely for the future, your legacy would last for quite some time.
One That Cost Nothing
But, there is a legacy we can all create. It doesn't mean giving money, nor does it involve any particular social economic status, or race. It doesn't mean that we have to be a famous author, or a notable movie celebrity. or a famous singer, composer, politician, Nobel prize winner, or a religious figure.
You may be a little surprised when you find out what it is. It is behavior.
That's right, your behavior.
You see, every one of us displays a series of behaviors each day. These behaviors have the cumulative impact on those we meet, talk with, work with or even lunch with. And, it isn't a behavior or behaviors in the work environment that leave lasting impressions, or to those we socialize with, or go to church with.
They Do Influence Those Around Us
The impact of a particular behavior starts the moment we awake. This behavior has it beginnings in how we think, and what we think about. It is when the unconscious level protrudes to the conscience level where we first observe a thought that translates into a behavior.
And, if you have a spouse, or partner, and if you have children or adult parents living with you, or, for that matter, anyone living with you, the influence of every behavior starts the moment you are in contact with another person.
A Couple of Examples
Here are a couple of simple examples. I am sure you could easily think of many, many more throughout your day.
Let's take, for example, that you have a spouse and two children. When you wake up in the morning, you are barely able to speak to anyone.
Your day starts out by displaying a grumpy demeanour, a speech pattern characterized by snippy or short replies or comments.
Do you realize that your behavior has already started to affect the entire family?
What does this behavior tell your children? I'm sure you know they mimic what they see and hear don't you?
Ask yourself if this behavior is how you want your children to act now, and in the future. If this isn't what you want your children to model as their future behavior, is there a way to change your behavior? The answer is a resounding yes.
A change in behavior from negative to positive starts with a genuine desire to change. From the outset, one should note that this change process is not what one might call a quick-fix. This is a process of learning something akin to learning to ride a bike or learning to walk, or learning to be an accomplished golfer. It is a process that requires a deep, inner desire to become someone other than you are right now. It means that there will be challenges, there will be set backs, and outright failures. But, the key ingredient to each hurdle or lapse is to acknowledge the transgression or slippage and to understand what caused you to lapse into an old, unwanted behavior.
Sometimes, these lapses are a result of frustration especially when confronted with a situation that you are not adequately prepared to handle.
Here is an example of a situation that you may have found that overwhelmed all of your good intentions.
You find that you have been working very hard on an attitude
where you are always positive no matter that event or circumstance. You have trained yourself to see that for every situation, there is a positive side. In fact, in your work environment, you have been able to see beyond what everyone else has defined as a problem. You are able to focus your mind and behavior to be solution oriented. You have been able to, on most occasions, dismiss those who only fixate on the problem. You have been able to see past the negative behaviors of these types of people who would rather become angry, or fly off the handle and start yelling, or to those who simply decide that there only option is to give up and quit.
However, on this particular day, and in this particular circumstance, you are near the end of your work day and feel tired. It has been a long day. A problem occurs and everyone else around you is yelling, complaining, or sitting on their hands waiting for the end of the day to come so they can go home. You find that your focus drifts back to days that you had hoped had gone by. You start to glance more often at the clock seeing a reprieve by quitting early, at least mentally. No matter how hard you try, you slip back into your old ways of joining in the negative behavior rather than looking toward a possible solution. The day has been long; the moment is near that it will soon be time to go home.
Now, the circumstances, or the issue, that lies before you seems to be more than you can handle. You can't seem to think clearly; there doesn't appear to be a solution. So, you sit down with your head resting on your hands and wait for time to tick by so you can go home.
This may have been a time when all of your progress towards a permanent change from negative to positive behavior seems to have been unsuccessful. On first blush, this may appear to be the case. However, there is something important to learn from this event. What is it, you ask?
Two important lessons stem from this event. The first one is that no one,
despite every great effort, can always be what they want to be in
every situation or circumstance. Everyone one of us cannot bat one
hundred percent in every time. Take for example, the best baseball player
you know of. Do they hit a single, or double, or home run every time at bat?
Not likely. But, what they have learned is that success comes by attempting
to do your very best in every game. And, just like a baseball player, you
attain a behavioral change that represents the top of your game by
never giving up, and by always attempting to do your very best in every circumstance .
The second lesson is that there are times now, and in the future,
where you will not be at your very best because of fatigue, or sickness.
There will be circumstances, like the one above at the end of a very hectic
day, that it may be time to take a break. Give yourself leeway to tackle
the problem or issue another day when you are fresh and rested.
Similarly, I've found that sometimes it is best to take a break by going
for a walk, or take a coffee break. This break can help clear your mind
and calm your anxiety. It is a time to let your mind go to zero by not thinking
of the issue at hand.
Leave a legacy that is worth more than money - a positive behavior!
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes."
"In the same way that you need to have a positive role model in your life, you need to be a positive role model to others."
Krista "KK" Weatherspoon
"The one that changes thoughts changes attitude."