Rethinking: What Makes a Living Legend?

Merriam-Webster defines a Living Legend as a person who is famous while still living for doing something extremely well.

I think this definition needs adjustment. Here’s why…

Becoming a legend is about doing something extraordinary or having a unique skill. Many consider athletes like Michael Jordan or Mia Hamm legendary. I do. Few accomplish what they have in their stellar athletic careers. And yes, they reached a level of fame and stardom because of their accomplishments, but strip away the fame, and their skills or accomplishments are no less significant. Fame does not make one a legend.

We all know someone or have someone in our lives who may not be a household name, but we consider legendary. Our high regard for a person isn't contingent on them being well-known. It’s about what we value or admire about their character or accomplishment.

I’ve had people in my life who‘ve been significant influences and have positively impacted the trajectory of my own story. They aren’t particularly well known, but to me, they are no less legendary.

So why does it matter? Because I think it’s time we reevaluate who we put on pedestals. There are many thousands of people across the world who’ve accomplished significant things and whose stories deserve to be told. Some have overcome incredible odds. Others have sacrificed immensely to reach a certain pinnacle. These people are awe-inspiring. Their stories move and motivate us. They propel us to want to be greater. And frankly, they're far more relatable than an NBA all-star or Hollywood celeb.

Of course, I do recognize that many who’ve reached a high level of stardom and are household names may have also overcome significant odds. They likely have fascinating stories about their journey toward their pinnacle. I take nothing away from them. Here’s the danger: too many, especially among younger generations, value the stardom more than the stories of hardship and perseverance to achieve it. They ignore the grind and sacrifice. These are the stories we should be celebrating, and they aren’t told often enough.

Zachary Green is a fraternity brother and college friend who I’ve followed on social over the years. His story is remarkable. Zach went from serving in the Marines to fulfilling a dream of becoming a firefighter. His experience and observations led him to create MN8 Foxfire, a company that uses photoluminescent technology to help firefighters reduce disorientation and risk. Their life-saving products are now used on firefighting equipment and in major sports arenas and high-rise buildings in over 25 countries. Zachary grew the company from the trunk of his car to over $30MM in organic sales.

Is Zach a living legend? Ask the sixty-thousand firefighters who use his innovation to make their high-risk occupation safer.

Let’s change the mindset of who we consider legendary. It’s hardly about fame. It's all about their stories.




The Living Legends Project and NFT collection is about celebrating the human spirit. You and your story are unique — perhaps legendary. Let’s go!

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Living Legends

Living Legends

The Living Legends Project and NFT collection is about celebrating the human spirit. You and your story are unique — perhaps legendary. Let’s go!

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