Write History

The men and women revered in our history books made it there by impacting their community. Their personal ambitions transcended the self and aimed for a higher context. The heroes in our history books lived their lives for others, for a mission or spirit greater than themselves. We do not remember them because they were trying to earn a paycheck; we remember them because they made a difference in our lives. They served us in one way or another. They played a role in changing the world.

If you want to leave a legacy before you go, push personal needs and wants to the back burner. Live life for a higher context – if not for humanity, then for your community, friends, and family. See past your own problems and look into the problems of others. Make it your mission to heal the wounds of the world. Target a problem you believe you can solve with your talents, and do not rest until the job is done.

The world will notice. Before long, your needs and wants will be fulfilled in thanks. Your deeds will enrich lives, your name will live on, and life will be good. But only if you do it for others, not yourself.

Internalize Your Goals

What’s the point of telling people your goals?

You could tell to collect feedback or talk it out. But do you really want to risk someone dissuading you or talking down? It could hurt your goal.

You could tell to seek praise. But you haven’t succeeded yet, so what is there to praise? Few people in your life will really care enough to give you the glowing support you are looking for. The lukewarm response might put you down and choke your inspiration. It could hurt your goal.

You could tell to keep people updated or manage expectations. But what if your plans conflict with the interests of others? They might try to talk you out of it. If you mislead others with your plans and then fail, you can damage your relationships. The pressure and uncertainty can bog you down. It could hurt your goal.

You could tell to have others hold you accountable. But what stake do other people really have in your goal? Are they reliable? By passing off accountability for your goal to another person, you pass off responsibility for your goal and distance yourself from it. It could hurt your goal.

Think hard before sharing your plans with others. Depending on who you are sharing with and the reason why, it could be a good idea – or it could be fatal. I am often guilty of sharing my plans without purpose, and I am beginning to notice effects.

By telling other people, you separate yourself from your goals (as if you already accomplished them … but you haven’t). You only make it harder for yourself to succeed.

The Difference Between You and Us

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

There is no such thing as a one man show. No single individual can truly bring about change or an impact on his or her own. One may be able to initiate alone, but it takes at least two to see things through. It requires resources, time and talent beyond our personal scope to really make a difference in this world.

Get over it. Stop focusing on what you can do. Focus on what we can do together. Find your place in the talent pool, surround yourself with disparate skill sets, and venture out to do good together. There is no “i” in “team.”