The word legacy scares the crap out of people. Why? Because it’s a reminder that they’re going to die. Here’s the thing: they are. You are. I am. We are.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, you may wonder if I am an extremely morbid person for talking about things like legacy and death. No, I don’t think I am. I think I’m motivated by my mortality and I’d like to spark that light in you, too.

Because what I’d hate is for you to find yourself on Death’s door, wondering what kind of difference you made to this world and questioning the way you spent your life. I think it’s much more productive to ask yourself those questions and know the answers while you are still alive.

[Tweet “Legacy is not about death. It’s about how you live.”]

I also consider myself lucky that Death touched me early. It was brutal to lose my grandfather, grandmother, uncles and mom and of course, I’d do anything to have them back here with me and our family. But I learned very quickly that life is precious and fleeting; I’ve chosen to look at that lesson as a gift.

I think we should each reflect on where we are in our lives, and where we’d like to go, and most importantly, who we’d like to be, on a regular basis. Not just in the wake of a loved one’s death. Not just at the end of a calendar year. Today is as good a day as any. Try to make decisions based on who it is you’d like to be. How would the best version of yourself go forth today?

Not saying you have to be perfect. If you yell at your kids or feed them fast food or ignore someone’s call because you’re not in the mood to chat, you’re fine. You’re trying to be the best person you can be, not the best android. And people are multi-dimensional and flawed and really cool beings. While we’re here as people let’s enjoy the gamut of that. But let’s also capitalize on the time we’ve been given, however long that is, to create something wonderful that will benefit other people, whether that’s a thriving home, a compassionate community, an enterprise that serves, or something else that calls to you.

It comes down to a choice: you can either be mortified by or motivated by your mortality. I think we can do great things when we are motivated.

taslim jaffer, let me out creative