This week's news headlines remind us of 2 iconic Americans that changed the world - Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson. Each made significant contributions to the world. Each faced adversity in many facets of life. Each reached the pinnacle of success and did so at the highest level of excellence, yet not without some sort of controversy. Each died too soon.
I'm not headed down tabloid road here. I never thought I'd ever even use the names Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson in the same sentence - save for maybe talking about using my old iPhone to record somebody trying to moonwalk! There's entirely too much negativity out there these days. All too often, people have all the "facts" yet miss the point about a person.
As the old saying goes, "Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?" Not on this blog. Let's celebrate the positive aspects of their lives.
The truth is, before either of these popular people departed this life, they gave us clues to their success, learning, giving back, and the idea of leaving a legacy.
I find it interesting to note that once someone leaves us, their passing prompts us to search for meaning. We search to discover what they stood for. We want something mentally tangible to hold onto. Our sadness, grief, astonishment, and shock force us to find closure and somehow deal with the loss - even if we didn't know the person. It's also interesting that a lot of the evidence of a person's greatness, drive, and purpose was there all the time - we just didn't pay enough attention to it. Take a look at some of these quotes from these impact players:
"The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work."
"I was a veteran, before I was a teenager."
"I wake up from dreams and go "Wow, put this down on paper." The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face..."
"If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with."
"And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance."
"Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."
"My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better."
"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."
"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."
None can deny that Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson lived incredible lives and made their mark on the world. Millions of people remain awestruck as a result of these two titans of technology and entertainment. Both left their signature on what mattered most to them, that one thing they were most passionate about. Both left a remarkable legacy that's permanently etched in our minds and will outlive even their children's children. Now, as the world pays homage to the recent passing, as newly revealed details of their lives become known, and as untold stories hit the airwaves, the question for all of us is this:
What Will Your Legacy Look Like?
Your legacy doesn't have to be shown in headlines. Your legacy may even remain unknown to most of the world. Your name may never be instantly recognized by the world, but that doesn't matter. What's important is the positive impact you make, big or small. What will people remember you for?
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