Life is for one generation; a good name is forever. – Japanese Proverb

Life is for one generation; a good name is forever.

Japanese Proverb

Human beings are as mortal as any other species that inhabit this planet. Yet humans are the only species that have a chance to be immortal. While death is an unavoidable truth for everyone who is born, the way we lead our lives has the potential to immortalize our names forever.

In the context of how old the universe is, the moment we have between the time we are born to the moment we finally leave this world is but a fraction of a second. We have no control over when we are born or when we shall die. However, what we do have control over is how we lead our lives between these two events. In fact, it is what we do that decides how and if we will be remembered years after our body has ceased to exist. On the other hand, squandering our life on material gains may seem beneficial in the short run, but it doesn’t constitute a reason for people to remember us.

Considering the astounding human population across the globe, it goes without saying that one would have to live an extraordinary life to leave a lasting legacy. It would be foolish to expect everyone to remember you forever by leading a normal life like everyone else. It is only when you make a positive contribution to the society that your name is immortalized for centuries to come. This name becomes synonymous with the good deeds one committed during their lifetime, inspiring several generations. In other words, while our life doesn’t last for more than a few decades, our ideas and actions can motivate people for centuries.

Ancient Japan was the source of many a nugget of wisdom. The Japanese especially emphasized the importance of leading a memorable life. There are several quotes to drive home this doctrine. One such quote goes as follows: “Life is for one generation; a good name is forever.”