Chris Guillebeau is one of my favorite authors. His book The Art of Nonconformity has been a continual influence on my major life decisions. I love his work for a variety of reasons.
First, he champions using unconventional methods to solve problems. Not only is it remarkably effective, it’s also fun.
Second, he champions the idea of living your life on your own terms. Our “traveling around in an RV with three small children seeking out new running adventures” lifestyle is certainly an example of going against the grain of societal expectations.
Third, he champions the idea of creating legacy work. Legacy work is something that makes a difference in the lives of others. It’s work that leaves a lasting impact. It is a powerful idea, especially when executed under the gift economy framework.
Guillebeau himself follows this ideal by producing awesome work on his blog and occasional downloadable mini-guides, including this one that sums up his ideas about legacy work (it’s a pdf):
All too often we get caught up in the details of life. We fall into a cycle of managing our lives and lose sight of our place in the world.
Think about your day. I bet you have a routine. If yours is anything like my old life, it went something like this:
- Wake up, unload the dish washer
- Take shower and get ready for work
- Wake kids up, bring them to daycare
- Go to work, toil away for about 8 hours
- Come home, do the laundry
- Pick kids up from daycare
- Spend quality time with kids
- Clean up messes
- Start kids’ bedtime routine
- Load dishwasher
- Relax for an hour or so
- Go to bed
This cycle repeated itself day after day after day. We were surviving.
Eventually I started to get an itch to create. It was about this time that I started blogging. I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually found kindred spirits in the writings of people like Guillebeau.
My process of creating became more organized and systematic. The more I built, the more focused my efforts became. Guillebeau’s idea of legacy projects resonated with me- create something that will have a lasting impact on others. It started with barefoot running, then spread to ultramarathons, then helping people become bloggers, then helping people escape their “traditional” lifestyle.
Start a legacy project today. Start something that is going to make a difference in the lives of others. When you’re lying on your deathbed many years from now, this will be something you can look back on and say
“This was my contribution to the universe.“
It doesn’t matter what it is, just pick something you feel passionate about. It could take the form of a blog, writing a book, making a movie, starting a business, taking a leadership role… whatever. Read The Tower mini-guide. It will give you some ideas.
I’m going to set one ground rule: You cannot consider your children to be your legacy project. I’ll explain why in a future post.
If you choose to take the challenge, give me the details in the comments section below!