This morning’s Daily Stoic passage had been titled, “What’s Written on Your Tombstone?” but as a more light-hearted twist, I pose the comparable question, “What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?”
The idea of this question is really to recognize what motivates you in life and what kind of accomplishments are important to you. Do we want to be remembered by having the biggest house on the block? Working the longest hours? Wearing the nicest clothes? All accomplishments as a result of what we have done in life. Or, would we rather be remembered for being the sweetest person in class? Being the most positive person at work? Being the most giving and thoughtful individual in the family? Obviously there are no judges or commemorative plaques to deem you as such, no tangible items to show for it, but this is a reflection of who you are as a being.
The one quote in the passage, which had most summarized this thought is, “We are human beings, not human doings.”
The passage makes me think of a story about a man who made millions of dollars working long hours, but as a result, rarely saw his family and knew little about his son. Though, he had all of life’s glamour.
At the end of his life, this man was recognized for all of the accomplishments that had granted him this wealth. However, his son had no clear memory of who he was. He knew his father had provided for him, given him new clothes and purchased a car for him, but had always been this sort of fiction character in his life. He was grateful for all of the things he did for him, but wished he knew him better.
Written on his father’s tombstone had been “#1 Stock Trader,” for all of his colleagues, associates and friends knew this was his drive in life and spoke of little else.
This passage was quite powerful since it has us question our own life aspirations, why we are doing it and who are we being in the process. Some care more about money and fame than they do the way they treat or care for others. So, money and fame is what they will be remembered for. Ironically, that does not sound like a glamorous remembrance to me.
Upon reflecting on what I would want to be remembered for, I would want to be remembered for being a source of peace and inspiration for everyone who surrounds me. I do have grand career aspirations but my drive is to assist in this mission to be a source of peace and inspiration to my family, friends, co-workers, future family, etc. So, even more important than this doing ambition itself, if all else fails career-wise, simply continuing being a source of peace and inspiration to others is all I would ever want to be remembered for.
So now I ask ya, what do YOU want to be remembered for?