Being a legend is not limited to war…
It is not limited great leaders…
Nor Hollywood fiction.
I truly believe ANYONE can be legendary. Ordinary people can be legendary.
Of course, there are many definitions of the term, and I am proposing one here.
I’ve written before that you are the hero in your own story.
Others see your story, as it evolves.
Those closest to us live that story with us.
We create our story in how we live our lives, and the decisions we make along the way.
But, looking at the other side of things…
How sad would it be at your passing, for others to comment that your life was largely mundane?
That you bumped along…
Did what was necessary…
Accepted what came your way…
And quietly moved on.
Well, I’m not trying to be too morose here, but truly, that does not make for a compelling obituary or headstone.
Here’s the problem.
Unless you are one of the rare few who “have greatness thrust upon them”, as the saying goes.
Or, if you are blessed with buckets of charisma, or you have a character so unique you are impossible to forget…
The question presents itself…
How do you become legendary? How can the average person be a shining example to those around them?
Someone others point to and say, “Look at what they accomplished!”.
I got started thinking about this lofty topic while training at the gym this morning,
Watching my fellow early risers go through their routines… Training hard… Trying to stay ahead of the game…
Not doing anything wildly dramatic, but simply doing. Day in and day out.
No one is making them do this. Let’s face it, NO ONE can make you get up at 5:00am unless YOU want to do it!
And then there was a 20-something guy who walked by with a tee shirt that said “Be Legendary”.
And my mind got to wandering…as it is prone to do.
“How can you and I become legendary?” – assuming we don’t get the chance to save the world in some dramatic fashion?
I don’t mean that generations from now, our descendants will sit around fireplaces telling tales about us…but, in our own little way, here is how I believe we can do it.
The physical version:
Many people I know and work with are significantly overweight. It happens. Life gets in the way and suddenly, there you are.
But one day, you wake up and decide – I mean “deep down” decide – that this will not stand. You make the changes, stick to your guns (even when others blatantly try to dissuade you) and you move forward.
Nothing dramatic. Just relentless. Every day. Unwavering.
That’s how it’s always done, isn’t it?
It ain’t fun all the time…but you do it.
The next thing you know, someone you haven’t seen in years walks by you at the mall and doesn’t recognize you!
Then you get that wide-eyed greeting of shock and joy for seeing what you have done!
Every member of your network (family, friends, co-workers, high school classmates, etc.) will see it.
They will shake their collective heads and say “Wow. That’s impressive!”
The mental version:
Being ‘resilient’ does not always come naturally.
Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity.
As we all know…it doesn’t always happen on your schedule, and it often isn’t pretty.
(If you are over age 50 and haven’t faced a situation that has challenged your ‘grit’, I would LOVE the chance to be you!)
We all face challenges. Some more serious than others.
Decisions need to be made.
When you intentionally become aware of your decision-making process, you make better decisions.
When you have a strong mental approach in place (something that can be learned), wading through difficult times becomes easier.
With time, your critical thinking and resilience become innate.
From small, daily questions to larger, life-shaping issues (think surgery, illness, death, career change, and financial distress) your opinion becomes valued to those around you.
You are not a burden; instead, you have become a valued advisor.
You’re not someone “the kids need to worry about”. You become their rock. And everyone knows it.
This is the stuff of life, right? Not everyone is born with “it”, but the tools are there to acquire it.
Now, Hollywood directors may not be beating a path to our doors to tell our stories, but the most important people in our lives most certainly will.
Wouldn’t it be great to give them all something to point to?
Ponder this a bit.
These are the things I wonder about between sets at the gym, in the middle of the week…
See you next time.