How Will You Be Remembered?
By: John Boe
Have you ever wondered about your own funeral? How many people will attend and what do you imagine they will say about your life? Recently I read a story about a man named Alfred who had the rare opportunity to read his own obituary. Apparently the newspaper in Alfred’s hometown mistakenly believed that he had died and prematurely published his obituary. Alfred was a philanthropist who had made a fortune by inventing dynamite in 1866. In his obituary his invention was blamed for the death and mutilation of thousands of people. He was shocked and dismayed by the harsh manner in which he was portrayed. Alfred was determined to improve his public image and leave a better legacy. He wanted to be remembered as a man of science and of peace. When Alfred died in 1896, his will provided the major portion of his $9 million estate be set up as a fund to establish yearly prizes for merit in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, and world peace.
Alfred’s last name you ask? Noble, Alfred Noble. The prize that bears his name is an international award given annually since 1901. Previous recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize include; Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Schweitzer, Henry Kissinger, and Theodore Roosevelt. Alfred did a remarkable job reestablishing his legacy. One century later we no longer associate the name Noble with destruction, but rather, with peace. What if Alfred Noble had never read his obituary? I believe it is never too late to improve your legacy. In India many years ago, a newspaper reporter interviewed Mahatma Gandhi. He asked Gandhi to give his readers a message that would inspire them. Gandhi smiled at the young reporter and replied, “My life is my message!” Consider what message you are giving your coworkers, customers, friends and family. Unlike Nobel, you may not be given the unique opportunity to read your own obituary, however, you are in a good position to influence what it will say. How do you choose to be remembered?
John Boe, based in Monterey, CA, helps companies recruit, train and motivate top-quality people. To view his online Video Demo or to have John Boe speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call (831) 375-3668.