Live and Leave a Legacy

October 3, 2014 by  
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The great Arthur Ashe left a wonderful legacy, not so much as you might think from his champion tennis days but more for his amazing kindness, sharing and selfless giving and his gentle warm personality that moved people to accept that every human being is equal. Believe me, back in his early tennis days, black people were not thought of or treated anywhere near equal. In fact, in some areas it was against the law for a white person to play tennis with a black person.

When you read about Arthur Ashe or watch the documentary on his life, you keep seeing these same words over and over to describe him–thoughtful, kind hearted , great role model, warm, gentle, friendly, fair minded and so very concerned about other people. He made a huge difference in the world and is a great example and role model for the rest of us. But you know what? Anyone of us can do similar things if we set our mind to it.  That, believe it or not, brings me to the subject of money.  Arthur Ashe used tennis and the fame he received from that as a lever to do good in the world.  The same thing can be done with money!

Money is neither good nor bad.  I know many people think that money is “the root of all evil” and they claim that this is what the Bible says, but this is not what the bible actually says. It says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”  The real key, of course, is what you do with that money.  If you let money become your god or the end goal in and of itself rather than a means to the end you might well be in big trouble.  I’ve seen this happen many times. Someone will make tons of money and then spend and lavish it all on themselves with high end toys, jewelry, food, drink and drugs and then you see that love of money really does become the root of evil that arises in these people’s lives.

If you want to help humanity for many years to come, way past your own lifetime, then you need to devise a plan that does exactly that.  I’m not saying that you have to have huge amounts of money to leave a great legacy fro mankind but it sure helps. I don’t know about you but working hard to make a lot of money–especially past the point of making enough to just live on–is much easier, seems like less work and is more rewarding when I know that the extra cash and net worth can, and will, be directed to others in need. And not just for the here and now but long after I have checked out of this life. Call it extra motivation, extra energy or whatever you want to call it. It’s real and it can help keep you going.  That ‘legacy’ can also spill over into the future for many, many years after you are gone and may even get bigger as time rolls on.

Try to pretend that this is the only world there will ever be–as in there is no after or next life.  If that were the case–and it might be–and you still really want to live forever, then maybe the only way to do it is through what you do for other people.  First your kids and grandkids, then maybe your friends and associates but why not go way beyond that and try to help total strangers and anyone on the planet that you can reach, especially those that are in desperate need.  If you can motivate them to make their lives and their kids’ lives and their kids’ kids’ lives a little better, encouraging them to pass it on or ‘pay if forward’ forever into eternity, then I think you may see that you are living forever. Just one person has the potential to make the world a better place for numerous other people and that is one terrific legacy that you can leave as well as live.

Lessons from Arthur Ashe

September 26, 2014 by  
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Many years ago when I first started to play tennis I was so gung-ho about the sport that I traveled to all four of the major grand slams–Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open in New York City.  I was so very impressed with the great champion Arthur Ashe and so admired him, not only as the number one tennis player in the world for a time but just as much for how dedicated he was to improving the lives of everyone, especially the unfortunate of the world.  To me he was an incredible double champion!

I will never forget, as long as I live, that night when the last match at the U.S. Open in New York finished so very late.  As I walked out of the stadium (the very stadium that has now been named “The Arthur Ashe Stadium) to catch a cab, I was surprised to see there were only a few cabs left and tons of people heading toward them.  So being quite young I sprinted to try to catch one.  I barely made it to the last taxi, but as I opened the back door and jumped in, someone else was doing the same thing on the other side.   As both doors slammed shut I look over to see none other than Arthur Ashe as my seat mate! Man, oh man, was I ever surprised, startled and yes, quite frankly, “star struck”. We quickly agreed to share the ride since we were both heading for mid-town Manhattan.  On the ride there I picked his brain to get all the tennis and life coaching I could possible pull out of him in that 45 minute ride.

What a great experience that had been and what a great man he was.  He was so much more than a world champion tennis player.  From a young age growing up in a segregated society, he set about to help change the world by helping people and thus making the world a better place for all of us.

Earlier yesterday, I was struggling to come up with a topic for this week’s blog and as I was thinking about possible subjects I flipped on the TV. Yes of course, the tennis channel was on and there was a biography being shown on Arthur Ashe including his many victories in his tennis life as well as off the court and his sad and somewhat sudden death at the young age of 49.   So it was an easy decision for my blog subject.  What great lessons I began to learn from his life as I watch the commentary.  He did a lot more in those short 49 years than I ever realized.  So much more than I can put in this one blog, so I am going to tell you more about his life and the impact that it had on the world in the next blog.

For now, the take away I want to leave you with is this–if you are looking for a big life time goal that will energize your life, I suggest you first take a look at yourself and see what your talents are and what you like to do and then spend time figuring out how you can direct those talents to make a difference in the world.

When we are young most of us are pretty self-centered and most everything we do is directed at just helping ourselves, but as we grow older and a little wiser we see that helping others is not only very satisfying but it can make the world a better place for everyone for many, many years to come.