And that’s why it’s so important to keep this simple concept in mind. You are going to be remembered for what you accomplish and not for what you attempt. Sure, some people in your inner circle may be more familiar with what you tried to do, but the world at large is more likely to remember you for what you actually did do.
Fear of Failure
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t pursue their bigger goals is a fear of failure. They don’t go out there and give it a shot, because they’re afraid that things won’t go as planned. What we have to recognize is that while failure is inevitable, not trying at all is even worse.
Again, you are going to be remembered for what you accomplish. Taking a fictional example, let’s have a look at the character of Carl Fredricksen (“old man”) from Pixar’s Up. He and his wife attempted to save up enough money for a trip to Paradise Falls, but she passed away before they took that journey. That attempt, if Carl just lived out the rest of his days in that house, would have been forgotten.
However, he really did make it to Paradise Falls (with Russell). That accomplishment (and all the life lessons he learned along the way) is much more memorable.
No One Remembers the Runner-Up
The team that almost won the championship is much less likely to be remembered than the team that actually did win. There are exceptions, to be sure, but we should always shoot to be first, striving to be the best. It’s about perseverance in the face of adversity.
As Buddha once taught us, two of the biggest mistakes we can make is not getting started and not going all the way. Your accomplishments are your legacy, not your attempts. And that’s partly why Steve Jobs was so impactful too. He took risks and while many of those didn’t pan out, many of them ended up being richly rewarding, popular, and influential. That’s his lasting impact.
Stick with it, adapt as necessary, and fight through the rough patches. Aim for an achievement greater than yourself and you will be remembered for it.