1-on-1: Creating a Full Life by Leaving a Legacy

The Experts Up Close Jack Canfield is the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a peak-performance coach.

Wayne Dyer is the author of more than 30 books and has created many audio programs. His latest book is Excuses Begone!  And he recently released a movie titled The Shift.

Amanda Gore is a professional speaker and author of four books, including You Can Be Happy. She has a background in psychology and stress management.

Q: I’d like to make a difference with my life and create a lasting, positive impact on the world, but I am not famous. Can ordinary people create a legacy? Amanda Gore: Golly, yes. Being a parent who makes their child feel loved, secure, safe and confident would be at the top of my list. Being a friend who is there no matter what or a partner who accepts your spouse for who the spouse really is and still loves him or her. Smiling at someone who feels alone, helping a frightened child or someone in need. All of these create a legacy every day. We confuse being famous with being worthy and making a contribution. There is a big difference. When you give someone an opportunity to be independent, confident and exposed to new ideas, you don’t just have an impact; you help someone transform their life. You never know what believing in someone or being kind will do for them. You may never realize the true influence your love and support has on another. But if you are steadfast in your faith in them, miracles can happen. No one is ordinary. We all can be extraordinary. We just have to tap into our divine nature and shine it on others. That’s the most profound legacy you can leave.

Wayne Dyer: Famous is an interesting word. It is not something you have any control over. Never think of yourself as ordinary. You are a piece of God. You are a one-of-a-kind being, who is here at this time, this moment, on Earth. In the ancient teachings of Lao-Tzu in his book Tao Te Ching, he says there are four cardinal virtues:

Reverence for all of life. Including animals, plants and people. Revere, don’t judge. Find the unfolding of God and spirit in all living things. Virtue of gentleness. Manifests as softness, kindness and love. Choose gentleness instead of the demands of your ego, which lead to dominating and manipulating others. Simplicity. Live in the moment. Find peace in every moment. Simplify. Service. Let your ego go, your false self. Let go of how much you accomplish and accumulate. See yourself as a divine being. The rest are all details.

Live according to these principles and discover your original nature. Live these virtues, and that’s when the doors will open. The doors won’t open if you try to be famous.  

Q: I often hear about living each day as if it were my last. Realistically, I can’t spend every day on a Caribbean island, so what are some everyday things I can do to get the most out of my days? Jack Canfield: Living each day as if it were your last doesn’t mean your last day of retirement on a remote island. It means to live fully, authentically and spontaneously with nothing being held back. If you knew it were your last day, you wouldn’t waste time on the trivial. You wouldn’t worry about other people’s approval or disapproval. You would speak up, tell the truth, ask for what you want without fear of rejection, have more fun, approach the people you were attracted to, and follow your heart. You wouldn’t waste precious time having regrets or feeling guilty about the past or worrying about the future. You would live fearlessly and fully in the present. You wouldn’t squander your time, watching mindless television shows or obsessing about the latest news bulletin. You would be embracing life, talking with your friends and family, eating good food and enjoying a good glass of wine. You would slow down and appreciate all the beauty and wonder of everyday life—a beautiful sunrise, the sounds of bird songs, the pleasure of a hot shower or the exhilaration of a cold plunge in your pool. And the great thing is that all of these things can be experienced every day of the week— even when you are working.

Wayne Dyer: I would change that around and live every day as if it were the only day you have. Then you will be aligned with the truth. Begin to use the greatest gift you have been given: your imagination. You can use internal mechanisms of thought. English poet William Blake once said, “What is now proved was once only imagined.” All of this stuff we see in this world was once only imagined. Think from the end of what you would like and what you want to become, and then you will have that feeling in your body and will be able to experience the feeling of the wish fulfilled. Then you will become that. Create what you want in your imagination first.

Amanda Gore: Make a decision to be joyful by finding things for which to be grateful first thing every morning and every night before you go to sleep. Have faith that things will work out for the best. Always help others, laugh a lot, be compassionate, be as loving as you can and focus on bringing joy to others. It’s impossible to be joyful unless we are serving others in some way. We all want to feel like we have a purpose, some meaning in our lives. Helping someone else see how spectacular they are ranks up there as one of the most meaningful things to do in life. And we can do that with every single person we meet.

* Image courtesy of Barry Stein – BarryCreative.com

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