How to Make Your Mark in History
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. — Joseph Campbell
I’ve been doing a lot of ruminating lately on who I am, what I do, and what impact I’m really making on the world.
Part of that just comes naturally from who I am, and a big part of it is from the work I’m doing right now, which is interviewing a lot of really amazing people I love for an upcoming event I'm putting together (...about creating a life of freedom through your passion).
One thing about these people, though: each one of them is remarkable enough to pretty much guarantee they will not be forgotten.
The other thing about them? They’re all living their lives on their own terms. But there's more to it than just that.
The link between living your freedom and leaving a legacy
For me, the definition of true freedom is pretty simple: The ability to do what you want, when you want to.
For Everett Bogue, of Far Beyond the Stars, that means sitting in the park for the afternoon, practicing yoga every day, and sometimes writing a blog post over the course of a week, if he feels like it. So, what makes someone like Everett so special? How is it that after only a year of starting his website, his site brings in about 2-3,000 unique visitors in a day, and a simple note about a friend’s product launch generates $3,000 worth of affiliate income in a day? (We just finished our interview as I write this, so it’s fresh on my mind.)
There’s a few factors at work here, but they all point to one thing:
Everett doesn’t just talk about doing remarkable things -- he lives what he teaches, and what he teaches is bigger than just his small self: You can live a life of freedom, work anywhere, and do what your heart calls you to do.
Just being remarkable, though, in itself, doesn’t guarantee you much, right?! There are plenty of people doing remarkable stuff who are going unnoticed, and will die quiet lives, surrounded by their closest friend and family. And that’s fine.
On the flip side, quite a few people are doing fairly remarkable stuff, living life on their own terms, and making a decent income from it. In fact, the majority of people out there who are really making a difference, changing people’s lives, and changing the world for the better, are doing so BECAUSE they decided to follow their own truth, and live life according to their passion.
But there is one key difference between them.
The ones who will go down in history are the ones who are not only doing something bigger than themselves, but willing to fight an epic battle to make it happen.
They’re the people who are:
1: Living a life of freedom and passion on their own terms;
2: Making a real difference in what they’re doing in their life (something worth remembering);
3: Selflessly teaching others how to do what they’re doing for themselves, and doing it on a scale that has no limitations;
4: Willing to stop at nothing, surmount any odds and fight any battle to preserve their freedom, and their values.
(This doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to teach people how to live a life of freedom on their own terms to go down in history! How boring would that be if everyone was doing that?)
I strongly believe that # 4 is the most important of them all, as the battle is the defining moment of the hero’s journey. Every hero must fight their own epic battle to emerge victorious.
A few examples of other people doing this in different ways:
Sadie Nardini is doing it, by creating her own life-changing system of “Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga”, going big by sharing it with the world all out through blogging and online videos, and living her truth. As a young woman she fought hard to overcome a physical disability that could have left her incapacitated, and learned the value of life, perseverance and self-belief.
Johnny B. Truant is doing it by teaching people how to build successful businesses by crafting their own story, and defining their place and character in the story, just as he did himself against the odds. He was willing to put everything on the line to make it happen when he lost everything with the real estate collapse, and he's failed a lot since then, but he keeps coming back, bigger and better than before.. (Disclaimer: I’m a bit biased as I love Johnny pretty much to death, and also just interviewed him the day before writing this).
My teacher, David Elliott, the Reluctant Healer is doing it, by teaching others to heal themselves through a simple life-changing breathing practice, traveling the world and training others how to be healers themselves (teaching the teachers), and giving away his entire new Healing book for free. He fought off the calling to be a healer for many years, but then turned the tables by working tirelessly to build a global movement based on the principle that everyone is actually a healer, and self-love is the foundation to all healing.
These are just a few small examples. There are so many examples of people in the world doing remarkable things, and there’s only so much time I can spend pulling out my favorites, but perhaps you can think of one and share it with me in a minute, in the comments -- or better yet, write your own post about them, and link to this one!
So, what’s the one defining factor for the real world changers...?
Their work is bigger than them, it's on their own terms, but most of all, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it out, and make it happen.
I’ve been ruminating on this for a while, ever since watching some amazing films featuring Joseph Campbell (you can find him on netflix or youtube), author of the seminal work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. There’s so much in his work it practically knocks me out, but the key takeaway for me: The hero must face his or her greatest fears, and conquer their darkest demons, to reach their victory. It’s a battle on the outside, and the inside. But there's hope...
Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world — Joseph Campbell (The Hero with a Thousand Faces).
The path to greatness cannot come without its epic battle. Luckily, we have others who've come before us, and around us now, who are willing to fight their own battles, and share their victories with us. For Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc...well, they had some pretty epic battles to fight! Chances are they won't be forgotten any time soon...
For Everett, the battle was leaving everything behind in his New York City life, and getting rid of all but 75 things to start a new life in a new city with just enough money to live for a couple months. He turned it into something which I don't think will be forgotten any time soon.
For me, it’s been a 10-year epic quest in search of the secret to true freedom and happiness, and fighting that battle through to the bitter end: A good, and free life that I can truly claim as my own, with enough self-generated income to stake my own claim to freedom, and lead the way for others to do the same. It’s been an epic fight, but I’m finally emerging on the other side, and I’m glad to begin really stepping up to share the magic of this truth with the world.
I’m still on that journey now, and I’m glad you’re here with me ‘cause it’s a wild ride, and I’m gonna do everything I can to show you how to do the same.
For starters, you can click here for the inside scoop on the freedom-business summit, and get my free "5 Steps to Freedom" roadmap video and pdf.
As Henry David Thoreau himself said: “All good things are wild and free.”
What's your hero’s journey? What battle will you fight to go down in history. Share with us in the comments, and share this post with your friends, but most important, I hope you’re out to win your battle at any cost, and bring an army of allies with you. I’ll be rooting for you. Seriously! :)