The older we get, the faster we watch time fly. Against the backdrop of our grander human narrative, we understand that life is short. We have one life, and many of us long to make it count. 

We all remember the slang YOLO (You Only Live Once) that rose to popularity in 2012, originating out of a desire to live in the present and take chances. Similarly, the Latin phrase carpe diem or “seize the day” infers the same type of urgency to experience life in its fullness. 

These sayings point to a universal longing to live lives that positively impact our loved ones. 

Perhaps more influential than a trendy saying or a cultural phenomenon is challenging ourselves with a question. This question helps us consider the kind of legacy we want to leave when we are gone: How do I want to be remembered? 

By asking ourselves this question, we can create values and make decisions that help us leave behind a lasting legacy in the hearts of the people we love. 

A dark-skinned male poses in thought, self-reflection

Why We Ask Ourselves Questions

Self-questioning is an incredibly powerful tool. It helps us to look inward and grow in our self-awareness. 

Having an increased self-awareness allows us to live with more confidence in who we are. It also provides avenues for trust-building with the people we love most. Self-awareness allows us to leverage our talents for the good of others and encourage our loved ones to do the same. 

Asking ourselves questions allows us to reflect on the life we’ve lived thus far, helping us recognize how far we’ve come and grow as we move into the future. 

Self-questioning also holds us accountable. It gives us time to consider whether we are projecting to others the type of character and integrity we desire to be known by. It allows us to examine our behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Think of self-questioning as a way to check in with ourselves. 

When we practice self-evaluation, we grow in understanding of ourselves and the world around us. It helps us to more clearly see our place in the world and our role in our home life and work life. 

If asking ourselves questions allows us to be more introspective and better understand our inner being, then what types of questions should we ask ourselves? 

Here, we will highlight one of the most important questions to ask ourselves: how do I want to be remembered? We will discuss why this one question holds such grandiosity and power to shape the course of our life. 

One Question, Four Benefits 

Questions are powerful in their ability to challenge us and teach us to prioritize personal growth for the good of others. Who we are and who we become directly impact those around us, especially our closest loved ones

Asking ourselves questions regarding our life and legacy helps us determine if we are presently living the way we want to be remembered in the future. They help us to home in on changes we need to make and encourage us to take chances in this life. 

We will now look at some of the benefits of asking ourselves how we want to be remembered. This one question brings about four specific benefits. It will not only shape our present self but also our future legacy. We will see how one question can change the course of our life and motivate us to accomplish things we never thought we could. 

Benefit #1: It Challenges Us To Think About Others

The average person makes approximately 35,000 conscious decisions each day. These decisions range from what we want to wear to what we want to eat. We make decisions about the music we listen to on our commutes to work and about where we buy our groceries. Ultimately, these decisions are made based on our preferences and our desires. 

We naturally think about our wants and needs. While this is necessary, sometimes we need a challenge to look beyond ourselves. 

How do I want to be remembered? This question seems self-focused. Contrarily, this question actually challenges us to consider others more frequently. 

When we talk about how we want to be remembered, many of us will use these words: selfless, caring, compassionate, kind, loving, patient, and understanding. We want to be remembered for the way we make others feel and how we treat those around us. 

Two sets of hands reach across the table and clasp one another

Therefore, asking ourselves this question helps us to consider how we can be more kind or loving to those we interact with today. It challenges us to start living the legacy we want to leave behind. 

Benefit #2: It Guides Us In Goal-Setting

Consider for a moment this scenario: You have just passed and your family is gathered at your funeral. They are celebrating the ways you inspired them through the relentless pursuit of your dreams. They are sharing your accomplishments and how you always stayed focused on your goals. You didn’t let challenges or obstacles get in the way of seeing your dreams become your reality. 

So, what is that reality for you? Think about the dreams and goals you have for yourself that you hope to accomplish before the end of your life. Consider how you want your loved ones to remember you as it relates to your goals. 

Pondering this question helps us to set goals for our lives based on things we want to accomplish and how we hope to be remembered. These goals may be career-oriented or centered on personal growth and development. They could be about financial success or about an entrepreneurial venture. 

Each person’s goals will look different based on their preferences and passions. Defining and determining the goals we want to set for ourselves will happen as a result of asking ourselves: how do I want to be remembered? 

Benefit #3: It Makes Us Present-Focused 

Our decisions shape who we are becoming. Every decision we make today impacts our future. While decision-making can feel overwhelming at times, it also yields freedom and a sense of power and control regarding who we are becoming and where we are headed. If our choices today shape our tomorrow, then we should be alive and awake to our present reality. 

Dreaming and goal-setting are necessary, future-oriented actions that help us determine our end goals. However, we may need to remain focused on the present, attentive to the choices we make, and conscious of the people we interact with each day. These subtle moments will shape the course of our lives and the way we will be celebrated after we pass on. 

White female hand holds a pen with coffee cup

When we consider who we want to become and how we hope to be remembered, we must look at our present selves. We must have the courage to consider if we are living our lives the way we want to be remembered or if there are changes we need to make. Let’s determine what decisions we need to make today to become the person we want to be in the future. 

Benefit #4: It Creates Our Legacy

Our legacy refers to what we leave behind when we pass. It is not limited to what we leave for our loved ones, such as material possessions or career success. Legacy also refers to what we leave in the hearts of those we encounter. It is about how we make them feel by the way we treat and talk to them. 

Peter Strople says it best when he says, “Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.” 

Therefore, the concept of a legacy is represented in the question of how we want to be remembered.

When we think about the ways we want to be remembered and how we want to make our lives count, then we start living this way. In this, our hopes become our reality which one day becomes our legacy. 

Once we understand that our legacy is being written each day, we will be more motivated to make each moment count and regard them as pieces in the puzzle of our life. Let’s be remembered by the positive impact we have made and the lives and hearts we touched. 

Wrapping Up

Self-questioning is a powerful tool that can yield personal growth and development. There is one question that we ask ourselves that is particularly powerful. That question is: how do I want to be remembered? 

Asking ourselves this question has a variety of benefits that shape who we are and who we are becoming. This question can change the course of our lives and motivate us to pursue our dreams and goals in new ways. It can also encourage us to be more present in our current circumstances and with the people around us. 

This question helps us shape the legacy we leave for our loved ones. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Take time to ponder this question for yourself and see the ways it will change your life. 


The Benefits of Self-Questioning Part One - Wellness, Disease Prevention, And Stress Reduction Information | Mental Help

How Many Daily Decisions Do We Make? | UNC-TV: Science

Current Decisions Shape Your Future Preferences | Psychological Science