The Four Legacies
The Four Legacies model goes like this: the first thing that individuals should strive for is financial freedom. This should be your focus right out of college, to become financially free. This might seem selfish, or even greedy, but it’s really not. If you think about it, it’s hard to really help others in a major way if you don’t have much money. Yes, you can volunteer at the soup kitchen on weekends and feed some homeless people, but you can’t cure polio. Bill Gates has spent a total of $1.3 billion on polio eradication, effectively saving millions of lives and eradicating 99% of polio cases. This would not be possible if Gates hadn’t focused all of his energy on becoming financially free in his younger years.
Once you have achieved financial freedom, the next thing to focus on is time freedom. Once you are financially free, you have the time to actually enjoy life rather than being stuck in the work-to-live lifestyle. Time freedom gives you the ability to do the things you love and have always wanted to do. Naturally, this will lead to relationship freedom. Relationship freedom means being able to spend time and build real, genuine relationships with those that are close to you. This means spending more time with your family, friends, and anyone else you care about or enjoy spending time with. These are the people who really matter in your life and they deserve to have real relationships with you. Your friends are also important and building relationships with good friends can lead to great times and even business partnerships that will reinforce your financial freedom.
These three freedoms might be thought of as selfish, because they haven’t benefited the rest of the world in a major way yet. Now is the time when people can really shine though. If you have achieved the last three freedoms, you are close to living your life to the fullest, in my opinion. The last freedom, Service Freedom is the icing on the cake, and cannot effectively be achieved without mastering the first three freedoms first. Gates has mastered all four freedoms, which gives him the ability to save millions of lives through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Service freedom gives you the ability to serve others in the best way your heart sees fit. By this time you can truly focus on giving back, and I think this will give you the ultimate satisfaction in life.
The Four Legacies are not a conclusive manuscript for life or anything, but I really connect with them because I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. I’ve worked hard for everything I have in life, so when people tell me to be more generous, or donate more of my time or money to charity, or go volunteer for so and so, I get annoyed.
The time that you spend at the soup kitchen or cleaning up the highway is great, but I spend that same time on getting myself one step closer to financial freedom. Am I selfish? Absolutely. Am I greedy? Maybe. But I know the sooner I achieve my personal goals and aspirations, the sooner I can fund an entire chain of soup kitchens for a decade, or adopt a stretch of highway the length of California.
That’s not to say I haven’t done ANY giving back at all. I did over 100 hours of community service in college and donated my time to countless collegiate organizations. But the rest of my twenties? Good luck.
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