Will Your Legacy Have An Asterisk Beside It?

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty 0575737

ConanIn driving around with Buyers and talking with Associates lately the topic of "legacy" came up. What will you leave behind after you are gone? Do you care? Do you ever think about it? Does your reputation, your contribution, your work, the "residue" of your life mean anything to you?

   Will Your Legacy Have An Asterisk Beside It?

Three celebrity news stories made me think of possible asterisks.

  • Conan O'Brien - will he be known as a young guy with a Tonight Show gig for awhile who moved on to greener pasture or a FAILURE in staying with the show such a short period of time?
  • Tiger Woods - greatest golfer ever or philanderer with women outside marriage or maybe both?
  • Mark McGwire - St. Louis Cardinals baseball homerun super slugger or it didn't count cause he used steroids?

We all are flawed human beings and a composite of our best and our worst. But thinking before we go down a path can help us with a legacy we choose rather than by drifting into one with an asterisk beside it. Most people are so focused on "success" under the age of 35 they don't think about "significance" till the second half of life, so asking them about legacy, you usually get a deer in the headlights look back.

But if it does mean anything to you whether you call it success OR significance know what that is in as carefully a constructed life mission statement that could be validated at your funeral when others are "celebrating" your life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had a short and sweet view of success from way back when that could fit any of us if this is what you want people to think of your life after you are long gone and turned to dust. It said,

"To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded."

So what say you? Are you cool with the legacy you are developing and leaving behind?

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  1. Robin Basichis 01/24/2010 04:03 AM
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Ambassador
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Gary:  I swear, I think that late night drums up this drama to create a buzz.  Remember the hubbub with Jay Leno and David Letterman when Johnny Carson retired?  Now this?  I don't buy any of it.

Jan 23, 2010 09:00 AM #13
Rainmaker
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Gary, I often think of what I will leave behind and I absolutely loved the quotes.  My name and my legacy are things I think of often and both are very important to me.

Jan 23, 2010 09:19 AM #14
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Gary,

My take on this was changing with time. I used to be very concerned with that, but then with age it changed and now I am not sure that I want to really stay in memory of people besides my kids, and grandkids.

Why clutter?

Jan 23, 2010 10:22 AM #15
Rainmaker
317,189
Pat Laracy Baker
Realty Executives Boston West - Holliston, MA
Pat Baker Dream Home Maker

Hi Gary, Our legacy is really something to consider all through our lives but as you approach older years even more.  I am 62 and I am to be sure that I leave my son and grandchildren a legacy that they would not be ashamed of.  No one knows how they will be remembered but we can work on our daily lives and how we treat others.  The Golden Rule is a good start and then not saying an unkind word about anyone or wishing an ill will either.  Work to do.

Jan 23, 2010 11:17 AM #16
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Gary, Ah...Ralph Waldo Emerson, love him. It think he said it, to leave the world a bit better...I think that sums it up in a nutshell.

Jan 23, 2010 11:33 AM #17
Rainmaker
207,960
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

Hi, Gary -- Seems like forever since I've stopped by, but a what a nice post to read on this Saturday night. I tend to think about this sort of thing more and more the older I get. I know it's cliche, but I wish I would have known years ago what I know now. I agree with Sandy -- to leave the world a bit better really does sum it up best.

Jan 23, 2010 11:46 AM #18
Rainer
117,458
Monika Depalo
GAFF'S REFERRAL'S INC. - Port Orange, FL
REAL ESTATE Agent/Stager

Emerson was a poet with wisdom and often quoted.  One wonders how he would have fared in todays media jungle.  Thinking about the wonders of the world, a legacy is not as important to me as to enjoying my time here and hoping to raise my offspirng to appreciate the wonders of life.  If an addiction occurs in a person, or greed takes over it is a sign of being out of balance and things happen in order to restore that balance.  Balance your life and you will enjoy it more that is my creedo--no legacy needed.

Jan 23, 2010 12:06 PM #19
Rainer
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Guy Thomas
WR Starkey Mortgage - Colorado Springs, CO

Gary, that is an excellent article to consider for our future posterity. Thank you for the time you put into the post.

Jan 23, 2010 02:09 PM #20
Rainmaker
325,871
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Gary,

I do like what Emerson had to say. "To find the best in others" is powerful. How about "to laugh often and much."

Jan 23, 2010 02:19 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,047,934
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Gary..I guess you would have to ask your co workers or clients to Find out.. Or Do we want to know :O))

Jan 23, 2010 03:48 PM #22
Rainer
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Bob Dunn
Sutton Group West Coast Realty - Abbotsford, BC

Gary: a nice reminder that what we leave behind is not the things we had but what we contributed and the memories we leave with others. That being said there are some things over which we have no control. Roger Maris will always have an asterisk next to his name.

Jan 23, 2010 05:44 PM #24
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Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge

Hi Gary - Congratulations on the well deserved Member Spotlight !!  This is a great article and a great time to think about one's legacy - the start of a New Year!!

Jan 24, 2010 12:16 AM #26
Rainmaker
3,833,480
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Gary,

I've been a lover of Emerson and this is one of my favorite pieces..leaving the world a bit better is what it is all about. Thanks for starting our year off with this wonderful post!

Jan 24, 2010 12:36 AM #27
Rainmaker
4,797,528
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

You bring up some very interesting points Gary.  I sometimes wonder what my legacy will be.  And will it matter to me when I'm no longer here?

Jan 24, 2010 12:36 AM #28
Rainmaker
135,952
Donna J. Stephens
BHHS Ambassador Real Estate - Omaha, NE
CRS

Our Women's Council of REALTORS had a speaker who asked the question, "What will the world have less of when you are gone?"

My answer, "Laughter." I love to bring a smile to the weary.

They will say, "She was loyal, fun, sympathetic, and giving. A good friend, wife, Mom and Grandma. A sharp edge when needed, a person you want on your side. And boy could she laugh!"

Jan 24, 2010 12:42 AM #29
Rainmaker
558,018
Cherise Selley
Selley Group Real Estate, LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor

Gary...legacy? Regardless of my successes or failures, I feel deeply fortunate to experience my journey of life through Christ, growing in the depth, breadth and height of His love...The quick 15 minutes of fame and fortune do not intrigue me for permanent things...Thanks for the work on this blog...Cherise

Jan 24, 2010 02:21 AM #30
Rainer
47,373
Robin Basichis
Rosen Company West/Diversified Real Estate Consultants L.L.C - Las Vegas, NV

They are developing Legacies for everyone now - just take a look at some of the new reality shows on Fox and other stations.  Hoarders - you can go down in history as being one of the greatest Dirty Pigs that ever graced the earth.  The Biggest Losers - you go through life looking like the Goodyear Blimp and then one day somebody offers you a spot on a show where you can bear your soul and your body to millions of viewers routing for you to loose that 500 pounds.  American Idol - an old guy gets on the show last week and sings a song called "Pants on the Ground." Suddenly he's as Quasi Celebrity.  If it wasn't for that show he'd be singing that song in the shower by himself for the rest of his life.  Hell's Kitchen - where cooks with vulgar vocabularies - sitting around smoking and drinking and stabbing each other in the back in front of the camera.  If you really want to reveal you true character and you can fry and egg this is a show to go on to ensure your place in the annuls of history. 

The idea of leaving a mark in the world has changed.  It used to be cool to write a book -  become a war hero - or become famous by sheer talent.  That's all changed now.  Just forget to put money in the meter in Philadelphia and you'll wind up on Parking Wars.  Andy Warhol was right.  Everybody will get their fifteen minutes of fame and with all these new shows on the air they will get a lot more than fifteen minutes.     

Jan 24, 2010 04:09 AM #31
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Gary,

I've never worried about my legacy. It would be nice to be remembered, but to me it's more important what I've done and what I will yet do!

Celebrities leave legacies, they make incredible amounts, but are they happy? Drugs, drunks and serial marriages doesn't look happy no matter how much they have.

Bill

Jan 24, 2010 05:34 PM #32
Rainmaker
594,825
Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Your Realtor Down the Shore!

I hope people can say my life was a life well lived!

Jan 25, 2010 09:34 PM #33
Rainmaker
314,256
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Gary - This is exactly the reason I strived to change in the last half of my adult years.  I see old crotchety people and I think ...that is NOT how I would want people to remember me. Sometimes we learn how to live our lives by the legacy others have left. 

Feb 01, 2010 04:10 PM #34
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