Why Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Hanoi, 2016
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

Many of us want a “legacy” or to be “remembered.” Why?

We are all afraid of death. We like the idea that after death, we will continue to “live on” — perhaps in terms of our soul, in terms of our information, our children, or our legacy.

But what if we lived a life where we didn’t care about whether we were remembered or not? What if we were satisfied to just do the best work we can do in our short lifetimes, and not stress whether anyone remembers us or our work?

We can’t control others’ perceptions of us

Tuyen Quang, 2016
Tuyen Quang, 2016 #cindyproject

If you want your word to be remembered, carve it into a stone. It will last a long time.

You cannot control whether you or your work will be remembered after you die. And not only that, but why do you care whether or not you will be remembered? You will already be dead — so you cannot reap any benefits of your legacy (after you’re dead).

Why do we want to be remembered?

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

I think a lot of wanting to be remembered or leaving behind a legacy is our ego, and sense of self-importance. We think we are the most important individual in the universe. So everyone should remember our greatness, our influence, and the work that we’ve done.

But the downside of wanting to leave a legacy — is that it adds a lot of stress, anxiety, and frustration to our lives. It distracts us. Rather than focusing on our personally-meaningful work, we seek to win awards, accolades from our peers, and to be written in history books.

Not only that, but it makes us a slave to the opinions of others. You lose some of your personal freedom, trying to please others.

Just do the work

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

I have a big ego — and I want to be remembered. I like the idea of leaving behind a legacy — to help future generations.

But as time goes on, I’m starting to realize that is less important. What is important for me is this: to help people today. The people living in today’s society. For me to do the best work I possibly can today. To not worry about the future— to not worry about my legacy, how I am remembered, and whether I’m even remembered or not.

I know at the end of the day, as long as I can empower even 1 person in the world — I have done my job. And isn’t that enough?

What do you want to be remembered for? And do you want to be remembered at all? Do you want a legacy, or not? Always contemplate these things, and always focus on work that is personally meaningful to you — and the rest of society.


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