How to Secure Your Legacy

When it’s all over and we’re gone, we will generally leave behind a few things in our wake. There’s our friends and family for instance who will keep us alive in their memories, there are our belongings as well as our finances which we will pass on to our loved ones and hopefully use to make their lives easier, and then there are the things we do in our careers that we will hopefully be remembered for outside of our immediate circles.

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All of these things we leave behind contribute to our legacy, and to the ‘after image’ that outlasts us and that people use to judge us long after we’re gone. But the question is how you go about ensuring that your legacy is a good one, that you are remembered for a long time and that those memories are good ones. How do you develop a legacy?

The Things You Do In Life

If you want to be remembered fondly by your friends and family then you of course need to think about the way you are living and the way your actions are affecting others. Ultimately it’s our actions we will be remembered for and judged on.

This is actually something that a lot of self-help literature tends to focus on: if you want to know how you should live your life, then you should think imagine your own funeral and your own eulogy. What would you want people to say about you? And does the way you’re currently living correlate with that? If not, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your behaviour and your priorities. It’s never too late to change, so perhaps you should start creating the memories you want to leave behind.

Achievements

Your legacy really refers to anything that you leave behind after you’ve gone in terms of your reputation and the way people see you. Often though we will hear the word ‘legacy’ and assume it refers to the great things we do and the contributions we make to history. People like Einstein, like Churchill and like Lincoln have legacies – not people like us.

Of course this is not the right way to look about it though, and actually anyone can have a legacy and be remembered for doing great things. The easiest way to be remembered by strangers though is to try and make a big impact in your particular field, or to create something that outlasts you.

That latter point might mean writing book. They say that everyone has a story in them, so if you want your thoughts and opinions to outlast you, then maybe now is the time to start writing. Alternatively, if you can do something to stand out in your field: whether you run a restaurant or you research colour blindness in animals, then you will likely have people writing and reading about you long after your gone. The aim here is to be different, it’s much easier than being the best.

Your Affairs

It’s also important to get your affairs in order. Usually this means making sure you have written a will, and that you have life insurance/plans for your funeral and burial or cremation. This is how you can say goodbye to those you love, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to make the right last impression.

What Happens to You After You Die? The Amazing Science of Your Body After You’re Gone

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What happens after we die is a question that many people ask themselves on a regular basis and that is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and important unanswered questions of all. Is there a heaven or a hell? Are we reincarnated as other beings? Or are we greeted with nothingness after we’re gone? Could we all just be playing one very well-made virtual reality game?

Unfortunately this is a question that science can’t answer, and theories on the matter are as varied as you can imagine. However what we do know a little more about, is what happens to our bodies after we’re gone and the materials that make them up. What happens to your flesh and bone when you’re dead?

What Humans Are Made Of

If you’re describing the afterlife in a purely physical sense, then reincarnation provides perhaps the best analogy for what happens. After you die you will be recycled into countless other things – just as you yourself are made up of countless other beings.

The expression ‘you are what you eat’ you see is actually a very accurate one. When we eat anything, our bodies use the raw materials in that food and break them down in order to create something edible.

This is particularly interesting in the case of protein. When you eat protein from an animal or plant, your body breaks that down into amino acids – which are simply chains of carbon atoms (ever heard the expression ‘carbon-based life-forms’? These amino acids can then be recombined to form our muscles, our bones, our acids and much more. So you really are what you eat in a very literal sense – your biceps are made up of the chicken, egg and beef you’ve previously eaten. And that beef was made up of the grass and milk that that cow ate…

The Circle of Life

Thus, when you die, your body will decompose and return to the system. If you are buried, then your body will very quickly become dehydrated as the 52% of your body made up of water will evaporate and enter into the soil containing lots of nice nutrients that help to feed the plants. In this sense you’ll quickly become a lovely fertiliser. If you opt for cremation then these chemicals and nutrients will largely be released as smoke into the air where they’ll settle elsewhere.

Over time all your meat and eventually your bones will decompose too and will sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Some of your protein will make it back into the food chain meaning that parts of you will be walking around again – even as humans. In fact did you know that due to the sheer amount of atoms in a single person, probability dictates that you are almost guaranteed to have an atom in you that once belonged to Shakespeare!

We may not know what happens to the ‘soul’ or consciousness after death then, but don’t feel too bad – at least your protein will live on and will continue to do great things!