“What do you want written on your tombstone?” The question has been posed over and over, challenging people to pause and consider what they want their lives and legacy to ultimately be. There are so many things that could be said… “He was a good man… I told you I was sick… She was a loving wife, mother and friend… Here lies Les More… No Less, No More…”
But the question begs to be asked. What do you want people to remember you for RIGHT NOW? When your name comes up, how do you want people to respond? Do you want them to comment about something you’ve done? Remark about the quality of your character? Mention the things that you love to do the most? How do you want to be known? Ultimately, it’s up to you, isn’t it? You have influence over what people think of you, so how will you impact not only what’s on your tombstone, but what’s on your “live stone”?
Choose where you spend your time wisely. Depending on where you live on the planet what gender you are, you will live approximately 35 to 40 million minutes. Now that may sound like a lot, but you’ll spend over a third of those sleeping, and approximately another 10 to 15 percent eating. That leaves you around 55 to 60% of those minutes to use. But wait, if you’re in the work force, you’ll use up another 20% of your time at work. Choose wisely. You can talk about “investing time, not spending time” all you want, but the truth is once you’ve used that moment, it’s gone.
Support what you love with your time, efforts and money. Lip service means nothing if it’s not backed up by our clock and our cash. You say you care about the homeless? Go work in a soup kitchen on a regular basis. You care about troubled teens? Donate to after school programs. If you want to be known now AND later for making a difference, here’s the simple plan to follow. Go make a difference.
Whatever you put your hand to do, do it with excellence. The world is full of average people giving a mediocre effort for a bland, middle of the road set of underwhelming results. Stand out by doing what you do better than anyone else. If it’s not ultimately better in quality, it ought to at least be better in effort. When did it become OK for average to be goal or benchmark we strive for? Reach, and reach higher! Work, and work better! Serve others, and serve like their life and your legacy depends on it! It just may.
Invest in relationships more than anything else. We can fill our lives with checklists and projects, and our resumes with scores of accomplishments listed in chronological order. In the Bible, I Corinthians 13: 1-3 says, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” People need you. They need your time, your understanding, your influence and most of all your love. If no one misses you when you’re gone, then what kind of real impact have you truly had?
Be authentic and approachable. The greatest legacies in history are not necessarily the kings and poets, heroes and explorers. Those who will have the most lasting legacies are those who build a solid foundation for the next generation. This world is dying for people who genuinely care, and who avail themselves to others in making the world a better place.
So if there’s something you want on your tombstone, put it in your will. We might actually follow through with it for you if what you wrote is true. But until then, you’re in charge of your “live stone.” Go do something spectacular with it!
What do you want written on YOUR tombstone?