Defining Life Legacy

If you feel like your past experiences have meaningfully contributed to who you are today, then according to Dr. Shintaro Kono, it is what we call life legacy: the past-present linkage.

Nick and Dr. Shintaro discuss life legacy and shared some instances of it.

Nick: Well, what stood out for me and what you highlight in your research is related to these associations are two subjective states, life legacy and life momentum. And I really like how you phrase these learnings.

So let's talk about what a life legacy is. What is it?

Shintaro: Life legacy is this feeling that your past experience, past events, past self too have meaningfully contributed to who you are, what you're doing, what you're valuing, and what kind of life you have right now.

So really the past-present linkage and the feeling that you're almost building on top of something you have accomplished, its actual goals and things, your activities and project.

But also your personal growth probably from the past that you're on being on top of it. Either you're who you are or what you are now, what you're doing right now, it's meaning to be connected to that past.

Nick: Yeah, I can actually think of a really good example for me, and this would have been my traineeship to Japan in 1995.

So I was awarded a traineeship to work in a restaurant chain in Japan, and that experience, probably was an ikigai experience, I had one year in Japan, I learned so much about Japan, and I learnt the language, but I also learnt a lot about myself.

That experience led to so many other things related to Japan: me meeting my wife, even obviously, what I'm doing now.

I remember that experience, and I see it as a very meaningful and positive experience, and it definitely shaped my past and has shaped my current life. Life legacy, we don't have to be old and gray, to have a life legacy, it's like a journey, and I'm still relatively young.

Shintaro: That's a very good point. I talked to university students in Japan, 18 to 22, that's the age group I talked to mostly. 


So really even that we would right now call the proper emerging adults, the younger adults, emerging adults, they still have much to be proud of in terms of life legacy.


Of course, this will maybe change over time, what counts is legacy and their magnitude of legacy, maybe. 


Hopefully, as we live, probably the value of the legacy, the project that we work on, for example, career wise, or the even the maturity of our hobby, just the excellence of it, will maybe increase.


Maybe the legacy gets bigger and bigger, and the legacy from 30s could be bigger when you're 60s, for example. But also, we may develop some different personal values and social values, we live in a dynamic society. 


So what we really value could change as we go. It's not really absolute, or it's not really static. It's definitely a relative and or dynamic process.

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