We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. – Selena Quintanilla Perez and Chuck Palahniuk
What does that mean?
This quote is often credited to Selena, who died before Chuck wrote his book, but I can’t find a definitive citation for Selena having said it.
Either way, it’s a good quote. The quote says that we all will die. Of that we are certain. Therefore the first half of the quote is a simple statement of truth. No-one lives forever.
While our bodies will cease, we can live on in the hearts and minds of others. The ancient Egyptians believed you died twice, once when your body died, and again when the your name is said for the last time.
The second part of the quote deals with this concept by stating our immortality comes from becoming part of something which lives on after our death. Family, community, and even world wide, as Alexander and Gandhi have, are but two of many thousands.
Why is being part of something larger than yourself important?
Everyone lives, and everyone dies. That is the circle of life. But what you leave behind can have influence for years, generations, or even longer. While some people leave a world-wide impact, even the change we leave in our family and friends can be significant.
Like the ripples on a pond, your life influences others, who in turn influence others, and so on. Down through generations, the influence flows. As time goes on, that influence tends to fade, but there are always ripples. Will your ripples help others, or will they harm them?
These ripples also propagate through organizations. If a doctor goes to a foreign country and saves the life of a child, how many ripples does that create? Even if you aren’t a doctor, you can donate to organizations which send doctors and other medical professionals around the world.
Closer to home is your local food bank. Even in prosperous communities, such as the one in which I live, have people who are struggling. The kindness you show through your help or your gifts and donations produce ripples which can go on for generations, and spread through the community.
Where can I apply this in my life?
There were some ideas offered in the prior section for activities which you can support with your time and/or money. I would imagine you can think of a few others, and the mail and e-mail probably has additional suggestions for your consideration. That would be one place to start.
But how can you do something which will out live you just within your own family or within your circle of friends and co-workers? Have you ever known someone who inspired you? What was it, was it their honesty, loyalty or was it some other trait? You could be that person to someone else.
I never realized how easily one could be an influence until someone stopped my wife and I and asked if we were newlyweds. We had been married about two years at that point, and the other person was shocked to learn that. The way we interacted had that powerful an impression on her, and she wanted to know what we were doing.
In that one interaction, we may well have influenced someone to improve their marriage. Then you have to wonder how their relationship influenced others. How many times would the ripples move outwards to other people? All from one chance encounter. Then again, it might not have helped, I don’t know.
The point is that we are all being evaluated by others as potential role models. How that works out is up to them. Whether we are worthy is up to us. But we can make an impact which can go on to other people and other generations, if our example is sufficiently memorable.
Please note that this goes both for the best examples of what to do, as well as the best examples of what not to do. Every culture in every era holds certain people as examples to follow and those to avoid following. We might not ever make that list, but we can be useful in our local area, right?
Consider what you are doing that might not be the best example for others to follow. What are these things, and how might you reduce them, and eventually eliminate them? Is it something you ever thought about from this perspective? Or even thought of at all?
Next consider what you are doing that might be an example that others might want to follow. What are these things, and how might you make yourself even better a role model? Wise people will notice what is good and model that, others might expect a perfect person for their role model. Do what you can.
We will all come to our end, sooner or later. For what will you be remembered?
From: Twitter, @pipsqueakkels
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/chuckpalah385625.html from the 2003 novel Diary
Photo by George Groutas
For some odd reason, my ‘related articles’ app is still face down in the mud. I hope to have something that works by early next week…