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50 Legacy Quotes to Remind Us of Where We Come From

Published on March 5, 2020 7:45 AM EST
Legacy Quotes to Remind Us of Where We Come From

These legacy quotes will inspire you to start making your mark on the world today.

Have you ever learned anything about your family history? Perhaps you’ve done a DNA test or you’ve spoken to family members about where your ancestors come from, what they did, and what kind of people they were. Who you are in relation to them says a lot about their legacy, and what you do with your life may or may not leave behind a legacy for your future family. 

Legacy Quotes to Remind Us of Where We Come From

But legacy is not just about your ancestors and your kin. It’s about something – anything – that you leave behind after you pass on from this world. These legacy quotes will remind us of where we come from, and who we can strive to be for the next generation. 

Legacy quotes that will inspire you to start making your mark on the world

1. “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” — Billy Graham

2. “Please think about your legacy because you are writing it every day.” Gary Vaynerchuk

3. “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Warren Buffett

4. “I don’t fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people.” ― Khabib Nurmagomedov

5. “All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” ― Jim Rohn

6. “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” — William James

7. “Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” — Steve Saint

8. “Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works belong.” ― Albert Einstein

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9. “Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people. — Peter Strople

10. “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” Ray Bradbury

Legacy quotes to inspire greatness

11. “Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

12. “Even though your time on the job is temporary, if you do a good enough job, your work there will last forever.” ― Idowu Koyenikan

13. “Someone once said that every man is trying to live up to his father’s expectations or make up for their father’s mistakes….” ― Barack Obama

14. It seems to me that at 19 or 20, a young man is burning to be great at something. I was. You have a vision that’s beyond the neighborhood. You want to make a mark while you’re alive. You don’t know exactly your future, but you want to be great at it. And greatness is an important word. And you dare not tell anybody how extreme and how burning are your visions, because you don’t want anybody to mess with them.” ― Art Garfunkel

15. “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” — Jesus

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16. “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon Alder

17. “We will always be with you. We internalize traits we observe in others as a way to honor and remeber them. we are all living memorials” ― Jomny Sun

18. “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” ― Taylor Swift

19. “The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind.” ― John Allston

20. “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ― David Brower

Legacy quotes to elevate your perspective

21. “Even though our time in this life is temporary, if we live well enough, our legacy will last forever.” ― Idowu koyenikan

22. “The little bit you and me might change the world,” Malloy smiled, “it wouldn’t show up until a hundred years after we were dead. We’d never see it.” “But it’d be there.” ― James Jones

23. “The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rockstar and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.” ― John Green

24. “We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” ― David Brower

25. “What is the point of it all? Not leaving legacies. But being ripe. Being ripe.” ― Maurice Sendak

26. “Are we being good ancestors?” ― Jonas Salk

27. “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.” ― Frank Herbert

28. “I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done.”Ernest Hemingway

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29. “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” ― William Shakespeare

30. “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” ― William Shakespeare

Legacy quotes that will inspire you to take control of your destiny

31. “Inside of all of us there is the need and the desire to be heard, to have our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires expressed for others to hear, to see and to understand. We all want to matter to someone, to leave a mark. Writers just take those thoughts, feelings and desires and express them in such a way that the reader not only reads them but feels them as well.” ― V. Vee

32. “Fake friends; those who only drill holes under your boat to get it leaking; those who discredit your ambitions and those who pretend they love you, but behind their backs they know they are in to destroy your legacies.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

33. “Only the passionate were immortal, it seemed. If you fought, screwed, screamed, laughed, or otherwise experienced life intensely, for better or worse, you left a record. Those who lived a quiet, well-behaved, well-tempered life? Gone without a trace. ― Magnus Flyte

34. “Language allows us to reach out to people, to touch them with our innermost fears, hopes, disappointments, victories. To reach out to people we’ll never meet. It’s the greatest legacy you could ever leave your children or your loved ones: The history of how you felt.” ― Simon Van Booy

35. “Einstein is referring to ones ‘legacy’ and its intended future recipients as being willfully purposed to benefit them on their journey through this gift of life given to us by God” ― R. Alan Woods

36. “What should our second generation have done, what should it do with the knowledge of the horrors of the extermination of the Jews? We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable, we may not inquire because to inquire is to make the horrors an object of discussion, even if the horrors themselves are not questioned, instead of accepting them as something in the face of which we can only fall silent in revulsion, shame and guilt. Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame and guilt? To what purpose?” ― Bernhard Schlink

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37. “I don’t really care if people forget me. My legacy wasn’t about me. It was about everything I could do for another. When that sinks in…well you try a little harder. You dream a little broader. Your heart stretches a little farther and you find that you can’t go back to the same place and make it fit. You become a person of ideas and seek out your own kind. And then it happens: One day you discover that staying the same is scary and changing has become your new home.” ― Shannon L. Alder

38. “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ― Benjamin Franklin

39. “The past is a pebble in my shoe.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

40. “History is the essence of innumerable biographies.” ― Thomas Carlyle

More legacy quotes to inspire you

41. “Outlive your life!” ― Max Lucado

42. “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  ― Pericles

43. “We stand our best chance of leaving a legacy to those who want to learn, our children, by standing firm. In matters of style, hey, swing with the stream. But in matters of principle, you need to stand like a rock.” ― Kevin Costner

44. “The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” ― Og Mandino

45. “Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here.” ― Joe McNally

46. “Everybody’s trying to leave their mark on the world. That’s why there’s graffiti and babies.” ― Kristen Schaal

47. “I never thought about leaving a tennis legacy. I always thought about leaving a legacy of fulfillment, living out your dreams, and giving back.” ― Serena Williams

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48. “My new year’s resolution: Never be afraid to be kicked in the teeth. Let the blood and the bruises define your legacy.”  ― Lady Gaga

49. “A friend of mine said something powerful at his grandfather’s funeral. He said that the greatest lesson from his grandfather’s life was that he died empty, because he accomplished everything he wanted, with no regrets. I think that, along with leaving a legacy, would be the greatest sign of success.” ― Marvin Sapp

50. “In a way, it’s a great thing that I have the opportunity to stand at the crossroads of Los Angeles and Indianapolis, and stay right here…People say that reality is in the footsteps, and not the words. That, as much as anybody, gives you a chance to show your sincerity and commitment, and what you’re all about as far as leaving a legacy.” ― Jim Irsay

What did you learn from these legacy quotes?

There are not many guarantees in life. One of the only things we know for sure is that we will eventually leave this world behind. That’s not something that we have any control over.

But what we leave behind after we are gone – there is something we can do about that. If you’re not sure about whether or not your existence makes a difference in this world, think what people will say about you when you’re gone. 

Will they miss you? Will they follow in your footsteps? Will they ask questions about who you were? Chances are, your legacy will mean something to someone.

You don’t need to be famous to leave behind a legacy, as long as your life had meaning for you and the people who knew you. Hopefully, these legacy quotes have helped you see why.  

What’s your biggest takeaway from these legacy quotes? Do you have any other insightful quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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