A total legend is someone unforgettable who leaves their mark on life.
They are cherished long after they’ve gone.
Some legends are famous, but far from all are. They often live amongst us, in quite unassuming ways.
What they have in common is a remarkable set of characteristics.
Maybe you’re a legend in the making or perhaps you’re already a straight-up legend?
1) They’re bold
Legends aren’t looking to make waves, but they’re not afraid to when necessary.
Sometimes in life, you need to — in order to create change, seek progress, and to do the right thing.
That’s why courage is an essential characteristic of a total legend.
Think about it:
Straight-up legends seem to have this fearless spirit.
They often push boundaries and go beyond conventional thought and action of the times.
Of course, it’s not that legends don’t feel fear. It’s that they don’t allow that fear to derail them.
They won’t let it stop them. They realize that sometimes you have to be challenging.
To the outside world, they seem daring and won’t hesitate to act, even in the face of danger.
A great example is Rosa Parks who helped to start the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus in 1955.
Speaking in her autobiography, Rosa Parks said:
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Legends aren’t afraid to take bold action.
2) They’re passionate
Passion is a magic ingredient that brings enthusiasm.
It is the fire that fuels a legend. It is what keeps them curious and open in their pursuits in life.
In order to have an impact, you have to be motivated.
In fact, in order to achieve anything in life, we need to harness our passion to turn it into devotion.
Being passionate about something — whether it’s people, a certain topic, or a particular cause — is what helps you to accomplish.
Passion can come from love. But it can also come from outrage.
It’s simply something that gives you a burning desire.
Without it, it’s easy to give in or even stop caring.
But when people have passion, they tend to be more resilient. It helps them to face obstacles and have the willpower to keep on going.
3) They’re compassionate
The biggest legends are rarely acting out of their own interests.
Instead, they have a bigger cause in mind.
They act for their family, for their community, or for humanity itself.
Without the element of compassion, how many selfless and heroic deeds would have taken place?
Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, St. Francis of Assisi — so many of history’s legends are remembered for their kindness and empathy.
The marvelous thing about compassion is that it benefits both the receiver and the giver.
Research has shown that increased compassion is related to greater happiness, decreased depression, better social connection, less stress, and all-around better well-being.
The care legends feel toward their fellow man is often what gives them purpose — the next trait on our list of legendary traits.
4) They’re purposeful
Legends have a role to play in life, no matter how humble, and they aim to fulfill it.
They want to contribute in some way.
They realize that life is not just for living, it’s for giving.
Becoming a straight-up legend means finding your particular role, following it, and using it to touch others around you.
That doesn’t mean all legend’s roles in life are grand or headline-grabbing. Far from it. Often the simplest of actions still have an impact.
But to release our gifts in this life, we need to find our own unique purpose. And the funny thing is, that it’s often not what we’d imagine it to be.
Legends are able to identify their gifts, tap into their talents, and know their values.
They use this to understand their purpose.
5) They’re principled
Legends know what’s right and what’s wrong.
They’re guided by an internal moral compass which means they are prepared to stick to what they believe is just.
Even if that isn’t always the most popular opinion.
Our principles underlie everything we say and do in life. In fact, when all is said and done, they tend to define us.
These are the truths and beliefs that steer us in the right direction. We often don’t even think about them.
But perhaps if we all want to embody the legend spirit it’s a good idea to really ask ourselves:
- What do I stand for in life?
- What kind of world do I want to live in?
- How can I make sure my principles are reflected in my daily life?
6) They’re humble
True legends are never arrogant.
They act from a purer place, rather than ego.
Without this humility, there is a danger we might go off chasing fools’ gold.
What do I mean?
Legends don’t pursue the things in life in search of status, fame, or recognition. They don’t believe that a bigger house, a better car, or designer clothes are what counts.
They don’t need to brag about what they’ve done.
They don’t try to prove themselves or show off about their accomplishments.
Something tells me that you’d never have found Mother Teresa boasting about her good deeds.
Legends think more about “we” than they do about “me”.
7) They’re resilient
The life of a legend isn’t always going to be plain sailing.
But let’s face it, life never is for any of us.
Often the quality that turns someone into a legend is their refusal to give in. History is littered with famous people who refused to be beaten.
Take Albert Einstein. He may be remembered now as the greatest theoretical physicist of all time.
But he didn’t speak at all for the first three years of his life. His teacher apparently told him: “You will never amount to anything.”
He faced so many negative opinions and pessimistic views. But rather than believe them, he carried on.
No matter how many times a straight-up legend falls down, they get back up again.