There are four areas concerning leaving a legacy Jim Rohn considers fundamental:

  • A life well-lived;
  • Principles to live by, passed on;
  • The importance of a spiritual belief;
  • An impact legacy, and a financial legacy.

What is ‘a life well-lived’?

I have made it my life’s pursuit to teach others the philosophies and actions that would help them achieve greatness and personal fulfillment in their own lives. Forty years ago, it felt like it would never end. Today, I still imagine I have many years left, but I am also more aware than ever that there is much less time. Being aware of this has made me even more clear on my goal of living well and teaching others to do the same. Our One-Year Plan of Success is designed to help others achieve all of their dreams and is part of one of the legacies I want to leave behind.

Leaving a legacy for others to follow is part of what drives me. I followed others who had gone before me; they left a legacy for me. Now I am making sure those who come after me will have a trail to follow as well. You see, leaving a legacy is important.

There are thousands of men and women who lived in a way that affects our lives today. These are the people whom we knew, whom we lived with, and who shaped us deeply for good, and for bad in some cases. Think about those who left a legacy for us to follow, and for you specifically:

  • Your parents
  • Your grandparents
  • Your aunts and uncles
  • Your schoolteachers
  • Your sports coaches
  • Your neighbours where you grew up.

You see, a legacy can be anywhere on the continuum, from very bad to very good. It all depends on how we live our lives. That’s why how we live our lives is critically important. 

I want to challenge you to look at how YOU live. I want to challenge you to think deeply about the major areas of your life where you can and should leave a lasting legacy.

Here are a few reasons why leaving a legacy is important:

  • The legacy we leave is part of the ongoing foundations of human LIFE. Those who came before left us the world we live in now.
  • Those who will come after us will have only what we leave them.
  • We are temporary stewards of this world, so we must leave it better than how we found it, even if our contribution seems such a small part.

Legacies have raw power for good and for bad. There are people who have changed the world for good, people who have spurred others on to new heights. Of course, there are also people who’ve caused massive destruction for countless millions. Some people leave a wake of pain behind. Some parents bless their children with greatness and others ruin their children’s fragile minds and hearts.

EVERYTHING we do affects others. Our lives have the power to create good or purvey evil. It is important that we choose to do good.

It is a responsible action to leave a legacy. Because of the power of our lives and the legacies we leave, it is a great responsibility to choose to leave a positive legacy. All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we can only imagine. I truly believe that part of what makes us good and honourable people is to have a foundational part of our lives based on the goal of leaving a positive legacy.

Purposefully leaving a legacy for others breaks the pull of selfishness inherent in so many of us. When we strive to leave a positive legacy, we act with a selflessness that can only be good for us. Yes, someone could work hard to earn money; when he dies, a building is named after him. But that is not the kind of legacy I’m talking about. I’m talking about legacies that make life better for those who come after us, not about our own fame or recognition, but about helping others. Legacy building is “big picture” stuff. 

When we are building something helpful to others for the future, we are thinking “big picture.” Ask yourself: How does this action affect my overall goals? Will it affect people in years to come?

Reflect on how you are going to use the lessons, information and skills you are learning to build a life that leaves a tremendous legacy!

By Jim Rohn. Reproduced for Educational Purposes.