As I write this, the world is waiting to find out what happened to the passengers and crew of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. At the same time the murderer of schoolboy Daniel Morcombe has been sent to jail for life with the tabloids screaming ‘Welcome to Hell’.
Whatever the outcome of our journey through life, one thing is clear. We are remembered for what we leave behind as a legacy to those that remain. Each moment we have is another step towards building that memory. The great kings, rulers and Pharoahs of the past knew this. The Taj Mahal and the Pyramids were built as tributes to the lives of those whose legacy was to be constantly remembered.
So we should ask ourselves how we would like to be remembered. Admittedly many of the great composers, artists and thinkers were not appreciated in their day and it was only after they had left the planet that their greatness was discovered. Does this make them any less great? On the contrary, they were valued even more highly because they were no longer available.
The full measure of our stature is only apparent when we are not there to be measured, we don’t appreciate something fully until it’s gone. Looking for validation of our success is a natural thing to do, however that success may not be recognised until we are no longer here. Perhaps that is the reasoning behind ‘rather than being a man of success, be a man of quality’.
Our own personal success may not be interpreted in the same way by others. The only absolute success is guaranteed by a sincere quality of feeling that we share with others. Whether it is appreciated at the time is not the true criteria. The quality of intent behind the actions that we perform is what builds the legacy we leave behind.
This is called selfless service or dharma or the path of righteousness. It is the cornerstone of absolution for those seeking redemption and takes many forms but at the core the motive is the same and that is to put others first. The great heroes and martyrs of history are remembered in this way.
How will you be remembered?