The last year was certainly a big year for losing celebrities and since I am getting older, I fear that this is a trend that is going to accelerate. The more people I know of, the more I will recognise when they pass on I guess.
Here are just a few of the people I knew of best:
- David Bowie
- Mohammad Ali
- Nancy Reagan
- Gene Wilder
- George Michael
- Carrie Fisher
Whenever someone dies it reminds us all of our own temporary existence and of the fact that sooner or later, everyone that we know and love will also pass away … and of course so will we. Almost all of us will be missed by a small number of people and not the worldwide legion of fans that some celebrities leave behind.
It is also nearly the New Year. I know that 99% of people never keep their new year’s resolutions, but I am going to make one anyway. I am going to focus on building relationships and growing people.
Lately I have started to think about the often mentioned motivation for holidays, activities and events … Making Memories. I sort of get it but I also see the futility of memories in that they die with you so is it a reason to make an effort?
I think it is YES and NO because it depends what you mean by it?
If I plan elaborate experiences with my friends and family for the sole intention of making memories, then I really think that is not helpful to anyone for very long. Sure it is fun at the time which is good in a way, and those memories like our millions of digital photos will live on for years until everyone is gone but that is it!
I rather prefer the idea of investing into people and that happens through relationships. Invariably this creates wonderful memories too for all involved but it isn’t the memories that are the goal … they are a bi-product. It’s a subtle difference but it is different.
Growing people means that I will look at each opportunity with this question. What are they learning? What are they practicing? How can I make this a positive, character building experience? The goal is not just being present and enjoying the moment or creating something that people will remember fondly. It is smarter, stronger, kinder, more resilient people as a result of your time together.
The reason this is better is because this can be passed down from generation to generation. It doesn’t stop when the people involved pass away and the world becomes a better place as a result of investing in people.
In many cases it can be achieved by debriefing experiences or preparing people first to engage in the activity in a particular way. It might be asking a few questions, including people who are left out or offering some encouragement when others do something great. If we build character through our experiences then we make something a lot more powerful than memories … something that will change the world.
If you spend your life investing actively in growing and supporting people, then you will leave a great legacy to everyone you know when your race is run.