We’re Only Here for a Short While


Darkness calls upon us all, no matter what.

You might be an unfortunate individual with even more unfortunate luck coming your way. Or you could be a rich CEO, who owns two yachts and his own private jet. You could be the greatest scientific mind that the world has ever seen, solving complex formulas and successfully resolving the issues surrounding classical physics and modern quantum physics. Your work could bring about a huge change in how the smartest people in our world do business. You can already smell the Nobel prize. Even so–no matter the miraculous impacts that your decisions and interactions might have on those around you–we cannot forget that we are human. The proverbial timer is ticking down, no matter what your position within society might be. Man is on Earth for but a short while. And what happens when someone has shed their mortal coil? Everything about them disappears. Their brains turn off and every single part of their being is…gone. Well, “gone” as much as we can say with certainty. But there is something left. Something we often forget about. And that part is: Legacy.

Yes, the absolute goal no matter what you do in this life is to leave a legacy behind. Whether or not people will continue interacting with the leftover pieces of “you” (things you drew, painted, composed, sang, played, wrote, or something simple like a life philosophy that you helped others see and follow.) Whatever your medium for creative expansion might be, we have to acknowledge that it is something.

So again, the darkness always wins. No matter what we have done, or how many people we have changed for the better, we will still cease to exist at some point. Even if you believe in carrying on into the afterlife, it still doesn’t negate the fact that your reputation prior to death will continue to impact others for years to come (hopefully). Death itself doesn’t frighten me as much as it used to, but destroying a legacy does. I want to make a difference in the lives of the people who read my books/articles. I want people to promote my works even after I am long gone from this mortal realm. That, dear readers, is my idea of dying a happy death. For it comes to us all…we might as well feel good about the impact we have made upon others. The thoughts that never would have existed, had you not allowed them to see your work. Whether it’s music, or writing, or some other type of creative medium, someone, somewhere likes it and incorporates it into how they view the world around them. That is a true legacy, when you have done things in your lifetime that will cause others to still take an interest in your name. After all, we all seem to be on the same bus, nervously awaiting its final stop.

“Pale death with impartial tread, beats on the poor man’s cottage door and at the palaces of kings.” –Horace

Be an Inspiration

Live to Inspi

We often think about the things that inspire us. Whether we’re working to accomplish a goal or simply trying to get through life, the people, things, and ideas that inspire us are usually foremost in our thoughts. But what about the inspiration that we invoke in others? It seems that we rarely think about that, or we have already concluded that we aren’t an inspiration for others. Don’t let the latter be true.

It doesn’t take great feats to be an inspiration, so what does it take? Well, let’s take a closer look at the things that inspire us. For me, my inspiration is derived from two things: people and ideas. My grandfather is constantly a great inspiration, and he wasn’t some famous author or philosopher. He was just a man–a very important man, to me–who had conviction and determination. My grandfather was also simple. He didn’t complicate things, and he didn’t partake in dozens of different activities. He was raised on a farm at the tail-end of the Great Depression. He served in the Army during WWII, and was part of the Occupation of Japan. He managed a quarry for many years. Those are the things he did in life. However, he had a great many qualities that I revere. I won’t get into that, but I want to make my point clear: My grandfather was no one famous, yet he is nonetheless a great source of inspiration for me, even in death. Would he have ever thought that he might be someone else’s inspiration? No, probably not. That wasn’t his way.

Other individuals who inspire me are indeed famous: Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Stephen King, Thomas Jefferson, Plato, Epicurus… the list is a lengthy one, and I turn to each of these individuals for inspiration depending on the circumstances. Ideas–or subjects–that inspire me are many, as well, but these are probably the most frequent ones: philosophy, cosmology, history, and physics.

For me, my main purpose is to inspire others. I write because I enjoy the thought of inspiring someone else, whether my work inspires an idea, or a pursuit, or even one positive action. Obviously, not everyone’s primary goal is to inspire those around them, and that’s okay. Just remember, however, that you will always have an impact on the world around you. Bearing that in mind, it is my wish that every individual does what he or she can to be a positive inspiration for others. The butterfly effect is subtle, yet extremely powerful and complex. We stumble through life affecting outcomes that we will never truly realize. That being said, I want you to try something that might be a little different from how you generally perceive your day: Allow the general idea of inspiration to be more present in your mind. Let it come forward in your thoughts, and try to envision how your actions affect the world around you. Think about how much good you can do, simply by demonstrating qualities that others might look up to. What sort of creation might you affect? A beautiful painting, perhaps? A wonderful piece of literature? Even if you indirectly affect just a part of someone’s creation, I think that is cause to be proud. And although we may never know exactly what or whom we inspired, we can at least take comfort in the idea that we are doing all we can to be that inspiration, to light that flame of creativity or well-being.

“I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled [poets] to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.”  –Socrates