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Being Remembered January 4, 2010

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.

During lunch with a friend last month, she noted that everyone dies two deaths.  Intrigued, I asked her to explain.  The first, she noted, was the physical death that we will all encounter.  The second, however, occurs the last time your name is spoken.  After that point, you are truly dead and forgotten.

What a concept! It immediately brings to mind those timeless names that will never die, those rare few that have had an eternal impact on our lives and society.  But it also leads us to reflect on the billions whose names have slipped into obscurity, and whose impact, however large or small, has stopped reverberating in this world.

This idea was brought into sharper focus for me last week when I learned of the death of Tim Hartselle, with whom I worked many years ago.  I’ve written before about Tim here, but did not mention him by name.  Tim once worked for me as a Unix administrator.  He wasn’t very good at Unix but found great success in email administration.  I often tell Tim’s story as an example of how seemingly difficult circumstances (losing his dream job of being a Unix admin) can lead to unexpected success in ways you never imagined.

Tim was a great, gentle man, with a ready smile and a sincere heart.  His first death came at 47, way too early.  So I mention his name here to do my part in forestalling his second passing.  If you ever need a story that demonstrates success borne of adversity, you may wish to use Tim’s name as well, extending that second demise.

It may seem odd to start a new year on such a somber note, but I prefer to see the opportunity that is presented.  With a fresh year spread before us, what will you do to make your name memorable?  I’m not thinking of notorious fame, either criminal or celebrity, but the kind of fame borne of doing good things on a continuous basis.

Most of us start the year pledging to lose weight, exercise more, and to cultivate more good habits than bad.  Most of those resolutions fall by the wayside, even with the best of intentions.  This year, take a different tack.  Resolve to do things this year in such a way that your name will be remembered, long after you are gone. Being remembered, in a good way, may yield a better year than any other resolution you can make.

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1. Robert Martin - January 4, 2010

That is excellent. Now that is a worthy New Years resolution!

2. Whats in a Name « GregMcCrory's Blog - January 5, 2010

[…] where one individual was recounting a lunch conversation with a collegue about being remembered. (Read It Here). The story goes that a person dies two deaths; the first being physical; the second being when a […]

3. Wally Bock - January 7, 2010

I think this is my favorite of all the New Year posts. It evoked memories of my father, a great storyteller, who used to say that, “You live as long as they tell stories about you.” As it happened I read the post for the first time on the fifth anniversary of his death. For the next half hour I walked around the house telling and re-telling stories about him to myself. Thank you.

4. Chuck Luciano - January 11, 2010

One of my favorite quotes is this:

The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.
Helen Keller

As long as others are still reaping the benefits of your ‘tiny pushes’ you’re impact on this world is still there even if your name is forgotten.

Another favorite quote is this:

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
Woody Allen


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