Friday, July 10, 2009
Michael Jackson's Lesson for You
by Steve Harrison
Where were you when you got the news about
Michael Jackson's passing?
I was listening to the radio while driving through
rural Pennsylvania on Route 22 to Shartlesville.
I was on my way to a friend's farm for a relaxing
three-day weekend with Laura and the kids.
It's strange, isn't it, that we never forget where
we were when we first heard shocking news. People
will often ask "Where were you when JFK was shot?" Or "Where
were you when the planes hit?"
Death has a way of slapping us across the face and
waking us up in a way we never forget.
When you hear the name "Michael Jackson," you probably
have two different thoughts: "Incredible performer"
and "Very strange person."
For better or worse, that is the legacy he left.
Personally, I tend to dwell more on the legacy of
memorable songs, videos, and dance numbers that he
left behind. Those are the things I continue to enjoy.
I really wish I'd had the chance to see him perform
live when he was at his peak.
How about you? What kind of legacy are you leaving?
Lately, I've been asking myself that question more and
I was thinking about all the things I've failed to do
as a father. But then on Father's Day, my 16-year-old
son gave me a truly priceless gift: a three-page letter
expressing his love and gratitude for me.
Things I thought I'd failed to teach him he'd somehow
learned by observation.
But I still have a big list of unfinished business
personally and professionally that I'm starting to
The Jackson story reminds me that the legacy we leave
is a combination of both what we do and how we live our
Everybody's talking about Jackson, Farrah, Ed McMahon
and Billy Mays.
But very few people are thinking seriously about the
legacy they will leave.
And even fewer are writing down goals and taking
deliberate actions to achieve that end.
As a musician, Michael Jackson was surprisingly
deliberate and proactive.
I learned the other day that while he was a member of
the Jackson 5 he told several close friends that he
wanted to break out on his own and become the biggest
entertainer of all time.
Some will call that ego. But I prefer to think of it
as simply an honest assessment of the gifts he'd been
given and a compelling vision for his life and what he
might be able to do with those gifts.
So he decided to anger his brothers and leave the
Jackson 5. He began working with Quincy Jones. And of
course the result was "Thriller," the biggest-selling
album of all time!
As a singer, dancer, and songwriter, Jackson gave us
all an incredible gift worthy of the endless replays
that have been taking place on television and radio.
But here's my question: "What if he had never decided
to pursue his dream? What if he had never left the
What if he had listened to his family, friends, and
even all the well-intentioned logical voices that said,
"Don't be so risky. Don't be so selfish. Who are you
to think you can be phenomenally successful on your
What kind of legacy would he have left then?
We'd probably barely remember him.
More importantly, what kind of legacy will you leave if
you don't take action to make your dreams come true?
As we hear about Farrah, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays, and
even those closer to us who have passed away recently,
we're reminded that life is short.
Oliver Wendall Holmes said, "Most people go to their
graves with their music still inside them."
What is the thing you know deep down you should do, but
you've been too busy, lazy or scared to do?
Whatever it is, get started today.
It might be writing a new book, taking a trip, or doing
some kind of community service. It might be mentoring
someone, launching a new business, or healing a broken
Whatever it is, get started today.
It's painfully obvious that tomorrow may be too late.
All the Best,
Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR)
& Million Dollar Author Club
Bradley Communications Corp.
390 Reed Road, First Floor
PO Box 360
Broomall PA 19008
484-477-4235 (Cust Svc Voice Mail)
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: firstname.lastname@example.org Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.