Those who do and make yearn to leave some mark on the world, some legacy of our hard work. Yet in our desire for success, we might be held back from our full potential by fears of irrelevance or failure.
You may feel that so many innovations are happening, so much art is being created, so many worthy causes are asking for help, that it’s impossible to stand out. Don’t succumb. The world is drowning in content, yet the demand for more never ceases. If what you make is good and the right audience sees it, they will remember it and share it with other people.
Legacy need not be the success of our efforts, but can celebrate the efforts themselves. Though Susan B. Anthony never saw her goal of woman’s suffrage achieved, we still credit her lifetime of work for the cause. Though Giordano Bruno was executed, we honor his resolve and dedication to reason, his refusal to bow to the censorship of the church. Leonardo da Vinci is celebrated for his inventions of flying machines and other inventions that were never constructed or functional for being ahead of his time; we recognize his vision and curiosity. What matters is not that we succeed, but that we try.
Legacy is not easy, should not be easy. The challenge is what earns notice. If anyone could do your work, what makes it special?
The hard problems are the most rewarding – the challenge increases the value. Don’t reject projects just because they’ll be challenging – but at the same time don’t set yourself up for certain failure – choose projects that are a reach but attainable, that will push your abilities.
Through our efforts – not the results of those efforts – we build a legacy among those who react to our work.