How Will You Be Remembered?

You have it all planned out. You know what you want to do in life and what you want to get from it. Everyday is a step towards your goal. The legacy you leave behind will be one of love and success. And then it happens: a plane falls out of the sky--crushing you. Or maybe something more conventional like a car accident or choking, but that's beside the point. You are now dead.

Most people don't think about it until its too late. Those that do tend to make something more meaningful out of their life. When you die, how will people remember you? Think about that. How do you want others to perceive you? Now, how do you think they actually perceive you?

In the classic Citizen Kane, Orson Wells character rises to a life of riches only to have it taken away shortly before his death. People see him as a power hungry man, but they don't know anything about him as a person. They don't know about the poor roots that he is constantly running away from. What they "know" is an image they have made in their mind of the man. All of their interactions (or in this case observations) with him are used in the picture. All the bad things he's done and all the good. Hopefully, the good outweighs the bad, but that's not always the case. Sometimes a moment of bad judgment can overtake the positive accomplishments one has made. On the other hand one small good deed can leave a positive impact on someone for a lifetime. Either way it's this image that lives on after your death.

Another film, Frost/Nixon, portrays an ex-president beaten down by his choices refusing to take the blame and yet trying to build some positive PR for the upcoming release of his memoirs. Nixon had his hands stained with scandal and is seen as a poster-child for political corruption. He's unable to escape from that image throughout the movie as he's convinced he did the right thing.

Your own idea of how you believe others perceive you may be distorted compared to the reality. To really understand, you have to put yourself in their position. None of us live this life alone and we should live accordingly, taking criticism from our peers and filing it away. Using that information to make better choices in our lives. We should, however, never go by popular opinion to justify what we do. In that case we would just be mindless sheep.


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