“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
To create legacy, you need to learn how to focus on what is important and eliminate everything else. In particular, your focus needs to be directed almost entirely on working towards your legacy goal. This is what I call legacy focus.
Legacy focus can only come after you have done your legacy sampling, and have decided once and for all what your legacy goal is. Start your legacy focus too early, and you end up having to start all over again once you realise your mistake. However, once you have found your legacy goal, you have to get out of sampling mode and apply legacy focus to it.
Getting rid of all the non-essential stuff in our lives is difficult. This is especially the case if we keep comparing ourselves to our peers who have resigned themselves to the 9-5 lifestyle and need all the extra stuff to make them feel like their decision is necessary. But for those of us who want to create legacy, all the extra stuff detracts from our legacy focus.
What kind of extra stuff am I talking about? It comes in three categories:
- The first category is commitments we take on that do not help us progress with our legacy goal (e.g. becoming the treasurer of our local church; agreeing to meet up with a friend for coffee every week; taking on a skills class out of interest rather than because we need it for our legacy goal).
- The second category is made up of all the junk we accumulate in our lives, that leads to a loss of resources which would be better spent on our legacy goal. A heavy mortgage, or owning a car in a smallish city, are just two examples – both expensive and tying us down instead of freeing up our resources and our mobility. And then of course there’s all the other, smaller pieces of junk we accumulate, which ends up cluttering our space and draining us of mental energy.
- The third category is an overlap between the other two: it is the commitment to buy useless junk for other people. This of course takes up both the time we need to find the stuff, and the money it takes to buy it. Piles of gifts we have to buy every Christmas for our loved ones is a personal pet hate of mine. Half the stuff ends up in the bin or in charity shops, and all the time spent on finding it is wasted.
As you can see, sticking with our legacy focus leads to being a somewhat difficult person, who does not go for all the senseless garbage we take into our lives every day out of politeness. Legacy focus takes not only determination, but the willingness to be seen as rude and anti-social. Are you up for that, and all the social ostracism that inevitably ensues?
The time is now.
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