Life’s Legacy and the Illusion of Being Watched
While staying at Lake Powell, my friend Mason Sawyer posed an interesting question to us.
He asked, "How many of you can recall the name of your great-grandpa?"
As eyes darted and minds raced, it was shocking that less than 5% of us could answer. Hell, I couldn't even recall the name of either of my great-grandpas.
He pushed further and asked about our great-great-grandpas.
Nothing but silence.
We want to be remembered. The truth is, your legacy doesn’t matter.
People will forget you. No matter how hard you try to make a difference.
It was a sobering reminder. If generations forget, why are we letting the opinions of others dictate our lives?
Why are so many of us trapped in making decisions based on external pressures and fleeting opinions?
I remembered a recent interaction I had with a young man who'd reached out via Instagram. Fresh off his LDS mission, the weight of his next life decisions bore heavily on him. He felt the scrutiny of countless eyes, judging and anticipating his every move.
"It's as if everyone's watching me," he lamented.
So, I gave him some perspective,
"You think everyone's watching you? Here's a secret, man. They're not.
You're not that important.
And that’s not a knock – it’s liberation. Most are too engrossed in their lives to fixate on yours."
Yes, people will ask, show curiosity or even offer unsolicited advice. In the grand scheme of things, they're wrapped up in their own narrative. If they love you, they'd wish for your happiness, and if not, their opinions shouldn’t matter anyway.
This young soul was at a crossroads. The best advice I felt I could give him was this:
You've got to listen to what your heart and soul whisper to you.
When I look back on my youth, I sometimes feel I hurried too much, chasing success and freedom. Sacrificing those golden years of youthful exploration and innocence.
If I had a do-over, I’d say to my younger self, “Slow down, kid.”
There will be countless external voices – parents, siblings, friends, and people you may not even know. But remember, at the end of the day, the only voice that matters, is yours.
What is it that YOU want?
Live your life doing what you want to do.
I promise you, a life truly lived on your own terms will be more rewarding than bowing to the wants and expectations of others.