What Kind of Legacy will You Leave?


My husband is reading a book called “IV” by Chuck Klosterman, and he thought this quote was so funny he read it to me – and I loved it:

“You are given the chance to control what your legacy will be. You can’t specifically dictate how you will be recalled by future generations, but you are given the chance to choose between two general idioms of legacies.

The first kind of legacy (“option A”) would be that you lived your days as a good, honest person who worked hard and contributed to society. However, the limitation of this legacy will be that almost no one will know or remember this information (including future members of your own extended family). Most average people will never even know you lived.

The second kind of legacy (“option B”) will be familiar to almost everyone in the world for centuries to come. However, this legacy will be extremely strange and neutral; it will be an obscure fact that has almost nothing to do with your tangible day-to-day life (the best comparison being the legacy of General Tso Tsungtang, an extremely gifted and successful military leader during the seventeenth-century Qing Dynasty who is now exclusively remembered as the namesake for the popular Chinese dish General Tso’s chicken).

Which legacy do you want?”

Some people might find this dark and depressing, but I think it’s funny and somewhat liberating. Most of us walk around so self-conscious, trained to conform and fit in and do what everyone tells us we should do, settling for lives lived in cubicles and days punctuated with evenings in front of the television. Many of us just don’t take chances on our dreams or make waves by being our own true, unique individual selves…and for what?