What Legacies Are Made Of: How to Create a Long-Lasting, World-Shaping Success…

Success and Legacy to the WorldBest-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell once controversially said, “of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs but there will be statues of Bill Gates across the third world”.

Maybe this is a slight exaggeration of the truth, but there is some truth in the idea that ‘success’ and ‘legacy’ are two very different things.

In my opinion anyone can become rich and famous with the right product but to become a legend you have to go that extra mile and create something that is so outstandingly new, clever or timeless that the world can’t ever forget or replicate what you contributed to it. So what are legacies made of?

#1 Timelessness

When you start working on a new project think ‘themes’ not ‘fads’. Themes are the universal elements of the world that form the backbone to all our problems and our successes; they solve the problems that have and always will be around and will always be able to identify with the customer.

timeless legacyHowever, ‘Fads’ are the trends of the time. And although this might seem like the safe way to make your fame and fortune, they quickly go out of date and will leave you with a copy of the product made just before and just after it.

A good example to use here is books. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has reached legendary status in the English world because of its theme.

Journeys, friendship, good versus evil are themes that will always be present in our lives. Whatever the time, whatever the trends, they matter and for that reason Tolkien is known to all as one of the most legendary authors of all time.

‘Twilight’, however, and all the vampire books that came to follow were merely a product of trend. People will remember the success that the original series made, for a while, but when people fall out of love with ‘vampires’ they will also fall out of love with the books.

So the biggest lesson to learn here is, don’t take shortcuts with your success. You were destined for greatness and to contribute something unique to the world. So don’t rush it, take your time and remember the importance of timelessness.

#2 Good Ideas

To leave behind a legacy you have to have good ideas. The difference between an average person and a legendary one is the fact that they have something special about them as a person and what they have to offer.

For this reason it’s important to develop your ideas as much as possible and to make them the very highest standard that they can possibly be. A good example of this – sorry Gladwell – is Steve Jobs and the contributions he made to Apple and technology.

In my opinion, his ideas were good ideas because they made the most of the time and the developing world of technology, whilst still addressing exactly what people and the world were missing.

#3 Inventiveness

Steve Jobs TimeAnother way to become a legend is to reform your field, or at least contribute something new to it. If there weren’t any ‘firsts’ then there would be nothing to build on, nothing to discover and everything would be pretty boring.

So never be afraid to try something new because if it hasn’t been done before, it could be your biggest contribution of innovation yet.

So why not try and be the first? A good example of this is Andy Warhol. Before Warhol, there was no pop art. Nothing like it at all. But after Warhol, it was the in-thing and other types of art began to come into the world, inspired by this new invention.

Warhol might not have been held so highly in his field if he had been the second or third person to use bright colours and cans to make statements about modern society. But because he started it all off, he is remembered as the genius that made a certain kind of impact. This is something definitely worth aiming for in your own work.

#4 Improving the World

Malcolm Gladwell believed that Bill Gates was a legend because “There’s a reasonable shot that – because of his money – we will cure malaria”. He didn’t pin point Gates’ legendary status to his creations, or to his riches, or to the inventiveness of the things he made. He pinpointed it to the two billion pound Gates contributed to causes across the world.

Could it be that Gates charity work will overtake his praise for creating Microsoft? I’m not so convinced, but it will definitely resonate with his followers. And it definitely exaggerated his legendary impact on the world.

#5 Resourcefulness

Last but not least is ‘resourcefulness’. Let’s face it, we are all a sucker for a great story when it comes to someone’s success, and someone who makes their success out of failure or fairly average beginnings, is already a legend in the making.

Think Ben and Jerry, Gurbaksh Chahal, Nelson Mandela. They all faced a certain struggle within their lives; none of them had their success handed to them on a plate. But they became someone special in spite of it all. Don’t treat you’re lack of resources as a weakness, but as a strength in the making and you’ll be down ‘legendary road’ before you know it.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to follow one of these paths – or all of them – remember that going the extra mile will always, always be worth it in the end. Sometimes it will be hard and sometimes you will want to give up. But that all just adds to the legend behind your name.

Wrote by Aimee Hall