Friday, 10 August 2012

Ian McDermotts Understanding of Legacy

You know, it’s very striking to me how ideas have their time.  And it would seem that what I was talking about when I referred to your daily legacy and influence you have being your primary legacy, it would seem that that resonated with a lot of people.  It’s funny, because I can remember, ooh it must have been nearly fifteen years ago now, talking to a group of businessmen about the whole notion of legacy.  And I remember there being a kind of stupefied silence - they had not really the faintest idea what I was talking about.  Now, it may be because I just wasn’t able to speak in an intelligible fashion about it, but you know, I don’t really think it was that.  I think it was more that it, it was just outside their comprehension.  And so times have moved on and people, I think, have a different sense of possibilities of what matters, in a way that, for me, is enormously encouraging, because it makes new things possible.

So, to pick up some thread as it were by popular request, let me say a few more things about my understanding of legacy and what that can mean for each of us.  And so, the first thing of course is, as I was saying, you know, it’s not about after you’re dead.  You have an impact now, you have a daily influence and it’ll be for good or ill one way or the other, but it would be impossible for you to not to have an influence, because you’re encountering other people.  Even if you were to go through the world saying absolutely nothing, you’d still be someone in their awareness and possibly that would be a contribution or actually not - who can say?  But the thing about thinking of what you do as rippling out, as being you’re impact on the world, is that you begin to realise that there’s more to you than you may have thought. 

I’ve often had the experience of  clients I’ve worked with making reference back to something I’ve said many moons ago, and telling me that that’s a remark that really stayed with them.  Now there’s an example of influence and of legacy, because potentially, some of those things have enormous impact on the way people decide to go forward in their lives.  So it matters a lot, and it can be a simple thing.

I mean I remember one time, working with somebody and saying to them, because they told me that they really couldn’t make any changes, because they just wouldn’t feel like they were being themselves.  And I said to them, you know, ‘How you are used to being, is not necessarily who you are.’  And that was something that just caused a pause.  And you could see that it was just settling, and they thought about it for some while after.  So there are some words that actually gave them new options, and that was me creating a legacy, in them.  And here’s another aspect, we don’t just create a legacy on a daily basis with others, we do it with ourselves.  If you spend your time, on a daily basis, bitching about other people, trying to deceive them, undermine them, get one up on them, whatever, you know, over time that becomes a habit.  Then that’s how you get to be you.  That’s creating a legacy for yourself.  Well I’d rather not.  But on the other hand, if you do things that consistently take you in a particular direction, over time there’s a different kind of legacy.  And that’s a gift you make to yourself.  So, there are many kinds, it’s not just with other people, it’s also with yourself. 

Let me give you a really simple, mundane thing.  Suppose you were to floss on a daily basis, that is one of the things you can do that will have a measurable impact on your health, over time.  It’s just a really good thing to do.  It for instance, influences your heart health in ways that are in ways quite profound.  So what you’re doing is engaging in an activity, a practice which then has an impact on you, and you reap the benefits of it.  You’re literally creating your own legacy by what you do and the way you do it.  So you might want to choose some good habits, and then reap the benefits down the road. 

‘Till the next time.
Listen to an audio version of this blog...

No comments:

Post a Comment