“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”
What will you be remembered for?
Will anyone remember your name when you are gone?
How will you be remembered?
Traditionally, a legacy is something you leave behind for your family members so that they can live better and prosper, such as money, prosperity, a craft, or a discipline.
A historical legacy is when something like an invention or new discoveries, that will benefit the world, are handed down from period to period, such as the invention of the light bulb, automobiles, toothpaste, cell phones, etc.
Some legacies last 10 years, others a lifetime, and some even thousands of years. However, if you just stop for a moment and look around, you’ll see that some of the greatest legacies this world has to offer already exist all around you, but have gone untold…
…and you will also notice, that new ones are being created every single day!
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM YOUR LEGACY?
I was a professional educator for 16 years, and have taught at all the educational levels from elementary school, middle school, high school, and even at the university level. I’m also a Judo Sensei, an MMA Coach, and founded the Rising Sun Judo Club, which was a youth outreach program that at one point was ranked #4 in the nation, (I ran it by myself for 12 years).
In martial arts and sports, I’ve competed at the highest levels, a USA Judo National Champion, placed 4th out of 32 countries at the 2001 World Masters Judo Championships, competed as a professional in both MMA and Boxing, and I’ve also won tournaments in submission wresting and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
As a child, I started playing organized sports at the age of 7, played American football for 14 years and even made it to the D-1 level.
Through hard work, dedication and perseverance, I’ve been able to achieve most of the endeavors that I have taken on in life!
But check this out…
I’m not satisfied with my life!
It all just doesn’t seem to be enough. And, the truth is, that most of the things that I’ve accomplished are very vague in mind, and they don’t have the same importance to me now, as they did when I was doing them.
With 7 surgeries on my body, 4 of them in the knees, I’ve had friend’s tell me, “Carlos, you have done your best with what you have, and it’s time for you to take it easy and enjoy life.”
And, I do try my best to enjoy life, and I wake up with a smile almost every single day…
But, at age 45, I still have that fire in my belly, the same fire I had as a kid who was dreaming of doing great things with his life as I was watching the Olympic Games, boxing, gymnastics, swimming, the down slope skiing, etc, on ABC’s Wide World of Sports (I loved it all)…
By the way, the intro to ABC’s WW of Sports was the best…“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!“
Perhaps, that kid is still inside me, as well as my childhood dream…
…and I want my life to mean something!
So, I was sitting here in my home on the couch, and I asked myself…
“What will people remember me for?”
…for shaking their hand and giving them a warm smile, or for giving them the cold shoulder and walking away?
“Will anyone even remember my name after I die?”
…will they say, “I love Carlos he was wonderful man!” Or will they say, “Oh the jerk, yeah he was an idiot!”
“How will I be remembered?”
…for being an asshole with someone, or for being a great friend, teacher and mentor?
“Will the impact I make benefit the masses or the few?”
…or have I CRUSHED the dreams of others?
YOUR LIFE, YOUR LEGACY…MATTERS!
What about YOU?
What will people remember YOU for?
Will anyone even remember YOUR name after you die?
Will the impact YOU make benefit the masses or the few?
What will be YOUR legacy?
As I close my eyes and think back in time…
…I remember the wonderful and amazing women and men who influenced and made a difference in my life.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and for caring!
My teachers, Ms. Govan, Mrs. Schnierson, Mrs. Labonge, Mrs. Washington, Mr. Welch, Mr. Kikuchi, Mr. Flores and many others who whose faces come to mind, but who’s names I can’t remember.
In the hardest times of my youth, my East L.A. Pop Warner Football Coaches, Coach Cota, Fierro, Cisneros, and Coach Jackie…
…thank you so much for yelling at us over and over again, “DON’T GIVE UP!”
And, to those who showed me the fist actual “plan of action” for accomplishing my childhood dreams, Bob Zuniga, the counselors, and peer counselors at the East L.A. College Upward Bound Program…
…thank you for believing in me!
As a young man, while in college, the one mentor who impacted in my life and who’s memory will remain in my heart for the rest of my life, is my Judo Sensei, Robert W. Cornely, who in his final hours before passing said to me, “Do something great with what I have given you!”
…I miss you my friend!
My list of life mentors goes on and on…
…and for the past few years, I have walked in their shoes, as a Teacher, a Sensei, a Coach, and more importantly as a “mentor of life,” and leaving a legacy behind is more important to me now than ever before!
However, there are two people who have impacted my life the most…my parents, my heroes!
Unfortunately, my father recently passed away on August 29, 2014. I remember, when I was a kid, seeing him work so hard! He was an auto mechanic and had his own shop called “Fletes Carburator Service.” When it came down to getting the job done, my father was a machine and worked non-stop, all day, rebuilding carburators. His hands were hard and callus, and he loved cars. It is through seeing him, that I learned the true meaning of hard work, responsibility, sacrifice and honor…
…I miss you so much pops, I promise to take care of mom and make you proud!
Lastly, my girlfriend Silvia. The death of my father has been the most difficult thing that I’ve had to deal with in my entire life. And, she’s been there for me the past couple of months, to pick me up when I was down. Silvia, you and your two beautiful girls are angels that have appeared in my life..
…thank you so much for gripping my hand so tight and not letting go!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Maybe, you will only be remembered for a single comment that you made?
Was it an inspiring comment, or was it a demoralizing one?
You see, one comment can change the course of a person’s life.
One comment can alter their thinking.
And, for one single comment…
…who knows where they might be, go, or end up!
Will it be, a good place or a bad place?
What do you think?
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM YOUR LEGACY?
Who will YOU make a difference for?
What consequences, planned or not, good or bad, will your positive or negative attitudes, actions and intentions have on those around you?
You see, we can either make a “difference” in a “wonderful” way or a “terrible” manner. It’s still a difference!
A legacy can be positive or negative!
Will the faces of those who remember you have smiles and feel joy, or anger and disgust?
Or…will you just be forgotten?
It’s something to think about!
HOW TO START YOUR LEGACY
To leave a legacy behind, your legacy must be bigger than yourself! And, you really need to think about and decide what that will be.
Below is a list of questions that will help you start creating your legacy…
- What’s important to you?
- What are your values?
- What do you stand for?
- Do you even care about others?
- Who do you want to impact?
- Who do you want to make life better for?
- Do you need to change who you are?
- What skills and resources do you need?
- Do you have enough time left on this Earth?
- What are you going to do about it?
Whatever you choose, please leave a legacy that makes this world a better place, even if it is for just one person – they will be grateful for the rest of their life, and will tell your story, over and over again. And, your story will make a difference, even if it only makes a difference to just one person…who will tell your story again, and again, and again!
Don’t waste time!
If you don’t know where to start – START HERE!
We have a community and a culture with great leaders who are already impacting the world and changing lives!
Remember, your life matters!
…but, time waits for no one, and it will only keep ticking away….tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc.
Take care and never give up on your dreams!
Carlos Fletes Jr.