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“But what does it all mean, Basil?”

austin powers - what does it all mean basil
Ever feel like this? Yeah, we all do…

The famous line by the one and only Austin Powers. The meaning of things is a key question the curious often ask. We often find that the more curious we are, the more answers we find. But often the more answers we find, the more questions we’re left with, and this is one of the curious mysteries of life. Ironic, isn’t it?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein (Tweet this)

We all have these moments where we transcend and look deeper, beneath the surface of things. For me, one of the most important ways to live a fulfilled life is through experiences. And while I believe intentional solitude is important and something every person should practice, sharing experiences is even more important.
We develop relationships with many people over our lifetimes. Some are temporary, while others are more permanent.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person. (Tweet this)

In my deepest moments of awe, I’ve often considered a simple question. Yet, I’ve often found it difficult to answer.

Who Really Knows You?

Yes, who really knows you? Your initial response may be, “My family. My friends. My spouse.”
But do they really know you?
If you were to write a detailed, unbearably honest autobiography of your life, how many surprises with your loved ones find? Who do you know that could write a full, detailed biography of your life and true thoughts?
Now I’m not saying there aren’t things we shouldn’t keep private. Not everyone needs to know the details of your life, like the borderline unhealthy crush you had on your middle school teacher. I’m suggesting there is a problem on the other side of this spectrum.

The Many Masks We Wear

Are the façades we hold and identities we carry with us an accurate portrayal of our true selves? The range between people that maintain more privacy versus those that wear their life stories on their graphic tees is wide.
Why is it that the identities we give our places of work, significant others, family, closest friends, long-lost friends, and acquaintances are all often unique? We wear many faces. Each one provides not only the face on the surface but they come with different layers. Each one maintains a unique density.
Underneath all of this façade is our true self. The one that we hold most dear within us. Yet at the same time, disconnection from this true self is often the cause of much stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
Our minds have turned into rattling monkey cages, never to find peace or tranquility until it is consciously forced. We’ve allowed the monkey mind to control our every day mood, and it has pushed us into a “zombified trance state”, as my friend Jason Silva eloquently explains in this inspirational video.

If you were to really unpack the layers between your exterior and interior, what would you find? Ultimately all we are left with is our memories and our experiences. Yet even these are impermanent and will eventually be lost. So then, what are we left with?

Building a Legacy

I believe the answer to what we’re left with is in the legacy we build and leave behind. Ultimately people don’t remember what you did, said, or thought. They remember the impression or feeling you gave them.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou (Tweet this)

Everything in this universe is both transient and eternal all at once. We are physically here for a short period of time. And as swiftly as this time lapses within this perceived reality and mindscape, so does our existence.
There is one thing that permeates throughout the universe—and that is thought. Many brave thinkers have proposed this idea over generations now. As science leads us closer to discovering the unique universal ability of thought to shape environments, we too will discover that all we are left with is the impression we leave on others.


This is why we are innately social, collaborative creatures. We need each other. There is no human race without the other, and it is this intelligence and social cooperation that has led to this moment in our evolution.
All of the games we play and materials we create in this world will evaporate once again in the blink of an eye into its original form—“star stuff”—as Carl Sagan famously called us.

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. – Carl Sagan

There is no need to game, there is no need to compete, there is only a need to experience, and love that experience. The love of your experience is what creates that legacy. People will feel the passion you have, and you will naturally learn to share your unique abilities and the mastery of your life’s craft with the world.
And that—this impression you leave upon others— will live on for generations and leave a ripple within the cosmic sea for all of time.
Have you ever considered this thought about who really knows you and building a legacy? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Image credit: Unsplash