Applying Better Manhood Skills to Your Legacy

One of the most critical aspects of a man’s life is his lasting impact on the world, or what is called his legacy. In this next-to-last post of this series about creating a roadmap to better manhood, I describe the importance of a man’s legacy and its components that help create a positive impact. I will also describe what I believe is another critical part of a man’s legacy: the eternal aspect. Legacy goes beyond how men apply the skills of manhood to acquiring material things and earthly matters. It goes beyond how much money you leave heirs and what people say about you after you die. Becoming a better man includes having a different mindset about your legacy and the everlasting impact on your descendants and the world.  

The Importance of a Legacy

Let’s start by understanding the significance of a man’s legacy and why it is essential to cultivate and nurture it.

All throughout history, men have strived to leave behind a legacy that outlives their mortal existence. They have focused on material possessions and achievements. But a man’s legacy is also shaped by the values he upholds, they way he treats people, and the mark he leaves on society as a whole.

Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, once read a quote that dramatically impacted his life: “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.” I’m not sure what Jobs believed near the end of his life but many successful people have their legacy redefined once they depart this world.

Legacy Defined

Legacy is defined as the imprint someone leaves on the world. It’s the lasting impact they have on future generations and their influence on the course of society. Legacy takes many forms, such as inspiring others, fostering positive change, and leaving behind a body of work that contributes to the betterment of humanity. Think of influential figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., or Nelson Mandela who inspire millions worldwide to fight for justice, equality, and peace. Each of their legacies encourages people to follow in their footsteps and make a difference in the world.

A man’s legacy is not solely about personal accomplishments and achievements but the positive impact he has had on the lives of others in his immediate circle of influence. By prioritizing relationships, encouraging personal growth, and building and maintaining meaningful connections, the ripple effect extends far beyond his lifetime. He passes down values, stories, and customs that strengthen family bonds and ensure his family’s heritage and cultural traditions remain intact. He uplifts and empowers through mentoring, coaching, and acts of kindness. 

A man’s contributions to society also help define his legacy. By actively engaging in philanthropy and endeavors that benefit the greater good, you will leave leave a legacy of service and progress. Men who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place leave an indelible mark on society and generations to come.

Components of Your Legacy

There are several key components contribute to the impact of a man’s legacy 

  • Values and Principles: Core values are the guiding principles that define who you are and what you stand for. Value influences all of your decisions, actions, and interactions with others. They reflect your beliefs and priorities. As I wrote in Developing a Proper Worldview, your moral compass guides how you use your masculinity. Men of high character, integrity, honesty, and ethical conduct make a lasting impression on everyone they meet.  
  • Actions and Behaviors: Behavior speaks louder than words. How a man talks and conducts himself in the personal and professional areas of life can also shape his legacy. My post on Behavior Management describes how being kind, compassionate, and respectful towards others shows maturity. Consistency in your actions and how you treat others, has a huge impact on how people view you. Good conduct is remembered and emulated by those who follow after you. 
  • Relationships and Connections: The quality of your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and the broader community also define your legacy. Build strong connections, foster meaningful interactions, and become a source of support and guidance. Mastery of these Soft Skills will shape how others remember you long after you are gone.
  • Personal and Professional Reputation: A man’s reputation is built on his word.  A good reputation in a chosen field and community shows your positive influence. It inspires others to live their best lives, pursue their dreams, and make a positive impact. This comes from sharing knowledge, skills, and experiences by mentoring and empowering others, especially future generations. Motivate others to follow in your footsteps while encouraging them to think about their own legacy. 
  • Cultural and Family Traditions: The preservation and passing on of cultural traditions, family values, and rituals is another important part of legacy. Through teaching customs and telling stories, you help ensure that your family heritage remains a meaningful part of their lives.
  • Financial and Social Impact: A man’s impact includes the responsible management of his wealth, proper estate planning, and contributions of time to social and environmental causes. Philanthropic efforts includes charitable donations and community service. Developing good Money Management skills helps you support organizations that serve those less fortunate.
  • Achievements and Accomplishments: Notable academic and professional status define some people’s legacy. Establishing an educational institution, scholarship program, or mentorship program will positively impact the learning and development of others. Creating art, literature, music, or other forms of expression will leave a lasting impact on culture and society. Innovations, advancements, and breakthroughs in science, technology, or the arts provides employment opportunities. Entrepreneurial ventures and businesses provide financial stability and contribute to economic growth. These successes can also provide generational wealth to your family. 
  • Service to Others: A commitment to serving others, whether through a career in public service, mentoring, and volunteer work, leave a positive imprint on the lives of people. Sharing your time, talent and money is an important part of your legacy. 

Each of these components of legacy will positively influence the health and well-being of others. They show success, resilience, and determination. They can also inspire others. However, if any are misused, they can lead to poor outcomes for you and others that negatively impact your legacy.

Keeping the “End in Mind”

Steven Covey famously said that everyone should “Begin with the end in mind.” Given that, here are some questions to ponder:

  • Have you thought about the end of your life yet?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • Will anyone show up to your funeral? 
  • What will people say about you after you are gone?
  • Will they say you were a good man or that you treated everyone poorly?
  • Were you a positive contributor to your family and society or were you a drain and negative influence?

These are all questions about legacy and your answers might cause you to think differently about changing your mindset. 

Be Intentional About Your Legacy

The dictionary defines reproach as “shame or disgrace or that which brings rebuke or censure upon a person.” Its about living a life that produces and protects your reputation.

In his book, The Measure of a Man, Gene A. Getz writes that an overarching quality of mature man is his reputation. Getz wites that it takes time to build a good reputation. He also suggests you get feedback from close to you like your wife, children, and friends (dare, I suggest you ask a GodBuddy!). Anyway, you can lose you reputation quickly withour constructive feedback on whether your life is one worth admiring.

The Apostle Paul defines reputation and one who loves “above reproach.” Paul was not referring to living in perfection but rather that we should have a good reputation. This lifestyle was so important that it was one of the distinctive marks in Paul’s letters to his mentees, Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:2Titus 1:6–7) who were in training to help grow the church.

At funerals and long thereafter, people will speak highly about mature men with good reputations and who respected others. Conversely, immature males with bad reputations, receive bad comments about their lives and lack the respect of others. Bad reputations typically leave behind a bad legacy. Better men live above reproach, which results in a great legacy.

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GodBuddy Focus 

No one knows when they will die. Your last day alive on this earth may be due to an untimely accident, an unexpected illness, or just old age. Only God knows when our time is up. That is why Scripture reminds us to live every day as though it could be our last (Psalm 90:12). For this reason, godly men should nurture their relationship with God and think with an eternal mindset.

The spiritual aspect of your legacy should become a priority. Your thinking goes beyond material and earthly matters. Your life is rooted in righteousness. You understand the impact of your life on the next generation and intentionally focus on transferring values, wisdom, and wealth to others. You desire is that more people will find the peace at the end of their life and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

It’s never too late to define your life as a godly man, who follows Jesus Christ, the one and only Perfect Man with an ever-lasting impact.

For discussion:

  • Why is it important to consider your legacy?
  • What will people say about you after you die? Be honest!
  • What does having an eternal mindset mean to you? 
  • What can you do to change your life? What can you do to change the way others view your life?  

[Photo from Google. Artist unknown]

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