How Will You Live?
How do you know if a man of women lived an existence worth talking about in life and death?
What factors do you consider in a successful life and death?
Are you living the life you want or are you waiting to die?
How do you want people to remember you when you die and what legacy do you want to leave behind?
I have presented you with a few questions to think about. They are deep and will cause you to think not only about yourself but the impression you want to leave others of yourself.
What you do today until you pass away, will allow you leave behind a legacy that can help others be successful and change the world or you can choose not to do that.
The choice is yours.
The Book – The Measure Of A Man
Recently, I read the memoir of actor Sidney Poitier. I had heard of him and knew he was a black actor in the late 40’s and early 50’s. He worked in Hollywood and took roles that broke barriers and help change of way people viewed colored people
Other than that, I never watched a movie by Sidney Poitier and I cannot name a single actor or actress he made a movie with.
After reading the 244-page book it opened my eyes to the legacy Sidney Poitier would leave behind when he passes away.
I would recommend picking up this book and as I read it, I started to wonder about the principles I stood for.
I wonder how the people who love and respect me will remember me in life and in death?
Sometimes I wonder, what do people say about me and what will they say when I am no longer here.
Will they say that I was a great person who lived by my principles, I cared about people and my family. The same things everyone says about people in general when they die.
What if they say the things I hope to be remember for? Will they say I help them change? Improve their lives. That I made a difference because I was born.
What if I was not born? Would the world really miss me?
Could someone like me have impacted the people I love, instead?
This question is being asked by millions of people today. This question can only be answered by you.
The legacy you leave is measured by what you do in life and death, your attitude, goals, desire and your love for others.
Since we cannot control when we will die, we are free to live life the way we choose.
If you live in a first world country, you have more opportunity than most of the 7.5 billion people living today, or do you?
Opportunity is there but will you do anything with it?
The Simple Life
Reading the autobiography of Sidney Poitier, I cannot help but think of my parents who came from India. India is considered by many a 3rd world country. The childhood my parents experienced 65 years ago was much different than the childhood they provided my sister and I.
As my parents grew up in India, I do not believe they ever imagined they would pack their bags and move to Canada. Till this day, I try to imagine what my life would look like if they had not moved to Montreal in the late 70’s.
My childhood was as normal and as abnormal as any Canadian families today. Like Sidney Poitier, my childhood shaped me and has helped me become who I am.
Growing up with a “normal” childhood, I got into lots of trouble and got lots of East Indian discipline. This mean the hand of my parents would have the last words.
Growing up Sidney Poitier was also discipline the only way his parents knew how to control their kids. There is something about growing up with parents who use the belt and hand to discipline their children.
I’m not sure what it is but for some reason I believed my parents cared enough for me to teach me lessons I would not forget.
I am sure each time they raised their hand to discipline me physically, mentally they were experiencing pain. I remember my mom saying to me one time, “You do not know how much this hurts me to discipline you this way.”
Know Who You Are
Yes, if you want to succeed you must dream. Success starts with believing in yourself long before others believe in you.
As Sidney Poitier grew up, I do not believe he focus on what life or death would mean when he was on this death bed. Rather he focused on living by his principles and accomplishing his dream.
To leave the kind of legacy Sidney Poitier will leave society, is not easy. Hollywood has never seen an actor like him but I believe Sidney has inspired a generation of actors and actresses.
His movies broke barriers and introduced a generation of people to a man who stood for something. His principles and believes were that society could be better if we all loved each other.
Through his many movie roles, he proved, if you stand for something then you will not compromise your standards for anything or anyone. I am sure Sidney struggled with duality but overcome them based on his core understanding of who he was.
On the big screen, as a film actor, he could show millions of people what tolerance and oneness meant if we all began to applicate the difference and similarities of each other.
Sidney knew that the writers and directors, of the movies he was preforming in, had used him. Rather than seeing this as a negative, Sidney used the ability to act to convey a message of ethics and humanity.
Sidney pushed the boundaries of what was considered normal, in the 50’s and 60’s, by taking controversial roles on how black men were presented.
He stood for his principles and was not swayed by money. He believed there was a better way and fought for what he believed was right regardless of how people would see him or believe about him.
Many of the acting roles Sidney took were meant to convert the viewpoints people had in the 1950 into the 1970’s.
In all the movies that Sidney stared in, I believe all the actors and actresses understood the message the movies were representing and did their best to sell that message.
Believe in Yourself
With so much going on today it is more important than ever to believe in yourself and your inner abilities.
You must take the negative of the world and make it a positive. You should spread positive and help change the lives of people round you and even the lives of people you have not met.
When you reach your last days, which is a day most of us will never know, a positive life will determine the legacy we leave behind for others to emulate.
Sidney took the from negativity he went through growing up, along with the experiences he had day-to-day, and made them a positive in his life.
It was not always easy for Sidney to stand up for what he believed in. One time he had a police officer pointing a gun at him. This was not the time to lose his cool and end up dead.
For Sidney, the solution was simple. He took a stand against the people who he could not in real life by addressing the hard issues in movies roles he would take.
Now millions of people could see what was happening and they could also see the solutions that could bring common ground between the two sides.
Getting the Message Across
Acting is about finding and tapping into the emotion you want to convey on camera. You want people to watch the movie and interpret that emotion based on their own experiences.
Acting as in life, is not about going through the motions. It’s about knowing who you are, believing in yourself, believing the words you say and doing what is necessary to achieve what you want.
By acting on the big screen and being in plays, on and off broad way, Sidney wanted to connect the emotions of the characters he played to the people watching. He wanted to connect to with the audience’s soul and filmmakers understood this.
Sidney Poitier wanted the masses watching his movies to feel the pain, the love, the hurt, the excitement and the energy he felt each role gave him.
Life and Death
Which of life secrets or foundation principles will you pass to your children or loved ones?
What foundational principles did your parents pass to you? Here are 5 things my parents taught me, that I will also pass on to my children in the future.
I think about this question a lot as my wife and I plan do have children someday.
I believe living in North America has made some first-generation kids weak. The children of parents from 2nd and 3rd world countries have it easy. Their parents are much strong than they will ever be.
I say this as I see the struggles many people have gone through to get to where they are today. I do not think many of today’s youth would be able to endure that kind of challenge.
The hardships my parents, and the parents of my wife, went through. The hardships of leaving their home country and coming to Canada for a better life. They struggled to build a successful life for their children.
In the book, The Measure Of A Man, Sidney said one of his greatest successes was focusing on faith and believe in the unseen. He understands that he is part of the universe and something greater than himself.
Whatever you want, the universe will conspire to help you achieve that goal. I believe Sidney Poitier believed this statement to be true after I read this book.
The sooner you can answer all the questions I asked above, the better prepared you will be to understand why you are here on Earth and what you can truly accomplish.
Grab a paper and a pen and start writing the answer to those questions.
Here are a few more questions for you to consider:
- What do I want my life to mean when I look back at all I have done?
- How will I craft the ideas I have so they will come true?
- Do I know what my goal are and why I why they are important to me?
- What vision do I have for my life and who do I see a part of that vision?
- Why is my path important to me and why not a different one?
- Where do I want my life journey to take me and how far does the journey take me?
How you live and die depends on how you handle the journey of life. The legacy you want to create happens the same way.
It is important to face your demons if you have not already done so. Push yourself to look for them and face them, so you can find peace of mind and move forward in your journey.
Follow your dreams, like Sidney Poitier, to your dying days. You do not have to worry what others say about your legacy. You will have written your own legacy, one you can be proud of.
How will you answer the questions from above? Will you live a life people will talk about years after you pass away?
Leave a comment below and tell me the answer to one or all the questions from above.
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