Last night a team of scientist quietly gathered in a room and huddled around computer monitors. The team had been formed 10 years earlier. Why? Because they had accepted the task of sending a probe into space to gather data of the distant planet called Pluto. And last night, 10 years after the blast off of the New Horizons spacecraft, the team waited for the planned signal letting them know it had survived the trip. Right on schedule, at 9:00 PM EST, the team received a signal. Victory. Jubilation. Cheers. Tears.
Here’s something not many people know. On board the New Horizons is a little capsule containing some ashes from a man named Clyde Tombaugh. He had discovered Pluto in 1929. That single discovery turned Tom into a lasting legacy.
As we journey past the 5 decades mark it’s time to think of our legacy.
How will people remember us? Some readers might think it is too late to worry about legacy. Your life has not turned out as planned. But here’s the thing: it ain’t over until it’s over. It takes only one good thing to turn your life into lasting legacy which will postively impact others.
Here’s 3 simple steps to help you start building a lasting legacy.
First, step on to the shoulders of others. You build a lasting legacy by standing on the shoulders of those who went before you.
Legacy building does not happen in a vacuum. Clyde had been assigned the task to photograph and observe an area in the heavens where previous astronomers Percival Lowell and William Pickering predicted a Planet X might exist. These two men had done research which indicated the possibility of the existence of a small planet. When Tom stood on the shoulders of earlier men he had his “aha” moment of discovery which led to his lasting legacy.
This is good news. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. When it comes to legacy building you are not starting from ground zero. Part of the work is already done. You just need to look around and find someone’s shoulders to stand on.
Take some time and make a list of the people who have influenced you. Next to each name jot down the answer to this question: “Why did they make such an impact on your life?” Use these answers to start building your own legacy.
Second, step through the obstacles. Don’t let obstacles stand in the way of building your own lasting legacy.
Tombaugh, as a young college bound student, faced a disaster. The ability to pay for his tuition hinged on the sale of the family crops. But a hailstorm ruined those crops. He couldn’t go to college. What did he do? He pushed ahead with his astronomy passion. He built several telescopes and landed a job with Lowell Observatory. He did not even get a degree until AFTER he discovered Pluto.
Everyone faces obstacles as they chase their dreams. People who give up do not leave behind a positive lasting legacy. Expect roadblocks. This is a normal part of achieving a lasting legacy. Look for ways to turn your obstacles into a positive part of your success process. When Tombaugh could not go to school he spent time building a telescope which allowed him to study Jupiter. He sent his observations and drawings into to Lowell Observatory. That’s what got him the job. If he had gone to school as planned history would be different.
Refuse to let obstacles get you off track. Find a way around them, over them, under them, or through them. But whatever you do push forward.
Third, step forward in spite of the odds against you. Do not let the odds against you keep you from doing your best to build a lasting legacy.
What are the odds of a farm boy from Streator, Illinois finding a new planet? Wait. Add this tidbit into the equation. Finding Pluto was like seeing a single candle light from a distance of 430 miles while being surrounded by brighter lights. The odds against Tombaugh were astronomical! And yet he pushed forward and his name will live forever.
It’s easy for us to give up before we start when we look at the odds against us. Some have faced incredible hurt and heartache by the time we’ve reached the over 50 milestone. We are battered and bruised. We walk with a limp. No one would blame us if we curled up into a little ball until the Grim Reaper comes knocking. But screw that. Decide NOW to start building a lasting legacy in spite of the odds against you.
It isn’t too late. You are not alone. Your life can make a difference in the life of someone else. It’s not too late to be a hero to someone, somewhere, somehow.
How about you? Will you accept the challenge to start building a lasting legacy to help others?