The Old Man and the Mountain

All of us want to leave a legacy behind that will linger into the future to help those following after us. We hope we will be remembered fondly and respected for the things we did during our time here on earth. Thoughts of this often make us consider whether we will be remembered and, if so, for how long. There are a few iconic people who lived their lives in such a way that not only did they leave a legacy, but their legacy continues to grow.

When my book The Ultimate Gift was turned into a movie starring James Garner, I wrote a line that Mr. Garner brought to the big screen masterfully as his character, Red Stevens, was speaking to his grandson via a video he had made prior to his death. He said, “If you’re watching this now, you have succeeded in all I have left for you, and in this way, I have accomplished something in death that I could not accomplish in my life.”

There are real-life characters like the fictitious Red Stevens living among us. One such giant was my late, great friend and mentor, legendary Coach John Wooden. Fans and sports commentators often argue about which records will be broken in the future, but virtually everyone agrees that Coach Wooden’s record of 10 national championships in 12 years will never be repeated or even approached.

I met Coach Wooden when he called my office to request that I sign some books for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and some of his other former players. This was the beginning of a treasured relationship between us that lasted until his death a few months before his 100th birthday. In the years that have passed since Coach Wooden’s death, his legacy and impact seem to grow. Truth and wisdom revealed take on a life of their own.

I enjoy reading books about geography and mountaineering. I have probably read a dozen books about expeditions to climb Mount Everest. I found it ironic and quite surprising to learn that, depending upon the way climbers approach Everest, they may not be able to really see the mountain. Everest is so immense that when it is being climbed, the only part that is visible is the section of the slope immediately in front of the climber. The best place to view Mount Everest on the rare days when the sky is clear, is from a point approximately 100 miles away from the mountain. From that distant point, the entire mountain can be viewed, and an observer can begin to put the totality of Mount Everest into perspective.

We all have people who have impacted us during formative stages in our lives. If you will revisit the lessons they taught you and act upon them, you will find that their legacy is not only alive and well but continuing to grow.

As you go through your day today, act upon the wisdom of those who have gone before, and plan to leave your own legacy behind.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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