YOU 177 is a journey from dreams to legacy, from aspirations to action. It's about moving toward a bigger way of thinking and acting, a 7-Generation World.
The action you can take, the building blocks of a 7-Generation World, are "legacy projects."
A legacy project has impact that matters and lasts. What exactly do legacy projects look like? That really depends on YOU.
Strategic, Big-Picture Action
Take whateveryou're doing, whatever matters to you, and make it bigger and better as a legacy project. Legacy projects are strategic, big-picture actions.
We use the term "legacy project" broadly. A legacy project may be a project or activity, but it can also be a program, a community-wide initiative, an organization or collective, a new approach or policy. You can even look at your life as an evolving legacy project.
Ultimately, a legacy project is about changing the way we all think and act to make a difference in our own life, in our community, and in our world. It's about big-picture, long-term thinking and action.
Legacy projects can be done by individuals and families, schools or organizations, and entire communities or cities. They can be a one-time endeavor, though it's even better if they're ongoing. You can do more than one at once or over time, or have one lead into another. We see legacy projects as living, evolving things.
Legacy is a rich, powerful concept. It allows you to reframe, expand, and multiply the effectiveness of what you do. You'll be better and so will the world. A dream today, a simple idea, can become an impactful legacy tomorrow. And anyone – from an individual to a school or organization to a community – can consciously choose to create a legacy. We do, in fact, create legacies all the time – through the way we value goods and services, the ways we support and care for each other, the way we learn, the buildings we build, the systems we put in place. The bigger question is whether our legacies are negative or positive, burdens or gifts.
Legacy projects are as varied, creative, exciting, and powerful as the 7 billion people walking this planet.
One of the examples that captures the big-picture spirit of a YOU 177 legacy project is the legacy bridges in India. They are the GRANDDADDY of legacy projects!Check out this amazing video…
The three dimensions of a legacy project are North Star Worth, Intergenerativity, and Eco-Connection. While your legacy project will probably be very different, you can follow the spirit of the example of the legacy bridges. The legacy bridges are important in the community and matter over time (North Star Worth); one generation passes the responsibility of caring for a bridge to the next generation (Intergenerativity); and they make clever use of a tree, reminding us that everything is interconnected and we are connected to the world around us (Eco-Connection).
Three Key Dimensions
Legacy projects, as a very broad term, are the building blocks of a 7-Generation World. Remember, they aren't as much about doing something new as they are a new way of doing.
Based on more than a decade of research, there are three key dimensions that call on your intellect, empathy, and creativity – each essential for the new kind of problem-solving we need in our modern world. The three dimensions are North Star Worth, Intergenerativity, and Eco-Connection.
If you could make a wish on a star for something that really matters to you, what would it be? Stars represent Big Time. A legacy project is about something timeless that has North Star Worth – it matters to you and it matters in your community and the world over the long term. It represents the gift of legacy each person, each group, each community can create. You have to consciously identify and articulate North Star Worth – and that's an important part of the value of a legacy project. How often do you take the time to think about what really matters in Big Time, and why it matters? North Star Worth touches on content, like whether your legacy project involves the environment or a specific community issue. But more importantly, it calls on why that topic/issue is important. What timeless value does it encompass? We've helped whole communities come together to dream bigger and explore what matters to them, like the Across Generations Summit in Tulsa, OK. The legacy bridges in India in the video above are about something important that matters over time – a way to keep a community connected, a sustainable pathway through a dense jungle that won't be washed away
during the heavy annual rainstorms (25 m of rain once fell in this part of India in a single year, the world record).
A legacy project involves two or more generations in some way, directly or indirectly. Legacy projects take advantage of what Dr. Peter Whitehouse has termed Intergenerativity. Intergenerativity is the big-picture, innovative spark that can happen when you bring together the perspectives of different generations. It's the power to multiply impact when you blend the "Believe of childhood, the Do of youth, and the Think of experience" (from the resource Dream). Through Intergenerativity we can expand our understanding of time and internalize the bigger flow of life as we build on what has come before and contribute to what comes after us. As people live longer than ever before, there's a high likelihood through your lifetime that you can personally connect across seven generations, either in your family or people you meet in your community: your own generation, three generations before you (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents), and three generations after you (children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren). That's the origin of the 7-Generation World concept. The legacy bridges in India involve generations working together; one generation passes the responsibility of caring for a bridge to the next generation. The entire community depends on each generation doing their part. Some of the bridges in the community are centuries old.
Everything is interconnected – including the past, present, and future. Hurrying along our busy daily lives, most of the time we overlook the bigger connections. In the words of physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, "Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. We are all connected to each other and the universe in the most basic way." At the simplest level, a legacy project involves a real or symbolic tree. The tree reminds us that everything we do is connected to the world around us. The legacy bridges directly involve a tree, cleverly coaxing the roots of a tree to grow to form the bridges. Trees play a critical role in the health of our global ecosystem. The tree is also the most used cultural symbol in the world, encompassing life, social, historical, and environmental meanings. More sophisticated legacy projects expand the simple tree dimension to Eco-Connection. "Eco" stands for both ecology and economy, and the intersection between the two. Everything we do is connected to the world around us, and the value we take out and put in. Check out an interesting article exploring the historical connections between economy and ecology. Eco-Connection also invites you to take advantage of biomimicry in your legacy project, using nature as a mentor, model, and measure.
So there it is: the three dimensions that frame your legacy project, North Star Worth, Intergenerativity, and Eco-Connection. The picture you paint inside that frame is up to you.
You can register to tap into an extensive global network of resources, connect with others, and submit your legacy project to be recognized and use the YOU 177 designation. You may even be eligible for Multiplier Money to extend your legacy project.
Bigger thinking is rare and difficult in today's fast-paced world. As legacy projects grow and multiply, bigger thinking will become more commonplace and accessible – exactly what we need to meet the complex, interconnected challenges of today's world. The possibilities for legacy projects are endless, cumulative, and ultimately transformative.
Will you answer the challenge? Create impact that matters and lasts through a YOU 177 legacy project.