Part V, live from my second home at Portland International Airport, brings it all together.
Ultimately, what we want to do is live a remarkable life in a conventional world.
As part of this process, we have the ability to step away from the bridge and ask questions instead of blindly following the crowd. We have the opportunity to pursue a big dream and embrace life as an adventure, instead of something to be lived to its most efficient state. We have the imperative to consider our place in the world and how our lives are interconnected with others.
And ultimately, this creates a question of legacy: what are we building? What will our ultimate impact be? How will things be different after we are no longer around?
That’s what legacy is all about. It has nothing to do with money, inheritance, or even what kind of career we choose. Legacy is also not something to think about at the end of our lives when we can’t make a lot of changes; instead, it’s something to think about from wherever we are in life.
I have an interesting job in that I write about non-conformity and unconventional life, work, and travel—admittedly broad topics. As the movement around non-conformity has grown, I sometimes hear questions like, “If everyone is a non-conformist, who’s really conforming?”
Ah yes, it’s always nice to belittle something in an attempt to render it irrelevant. But the thing is, non-conformity en masse is like world peace—a lovely idea that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. If more and more people start questioning assumptions, pursuing big dreams, and considering how they can change the world, that sounds great to me. I suspect that those of us who truly feel that way and live our lives intentionally will always be in the minority. But it’s an active, growing minority.
Uncertainty and Choices
As related here, two-and-a-half years ago I was turning 30 and found myself faced with a choice about what I would do next. I had done a lot of things in the previous decade, from being self-employed the whole ten years and volunteering in Africa for four of them, but my work lacked a convergence point. I wanted to establish a writing platform and eventually write a book, and I wanted to create some kind of legacy project that would go on to live a life of its own.
I was also highly uncertain about beginning the journey. I looked up to other author / bloggers, especially J.D., Gretchen, Leo, and Jonathan. I thought, These people have done so much already! What could I possibly add to the conversation?
Somehow I managed to overcome my uncertainty and forge ahead. Whether your legacy project has a similar format to mine or is something entirely different, I hope you can also overcome the uncertainty and choose the road not taken. Or better yet, make your own road.
Building a legacy requires hard choices. Here are my suggestions: when faced with a choice between hope and fear, choose hope. When faced with a choice between abundance and scarcity, choose abundance. (Remember: scarcity is all about seeing the world as zero-sum or winner-take-all. Abundance is about making a bigger pie.)
Ultimately, if you really want to live a remarkable life in a conventional world, you’ll want to do something worth remembering. Live your life out loud. Follow a big dream and find a way to contribute something at the same time. If more people lived their lives in pursuit of a legacy, I think the world would be a better place.
This has been Part V of the agenda series. Today I’m flying to Baltimore—this week continues to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night and then beyond. See you next from somewhere!