So Nelson Mandela is definitely up there. But who else?
After our Christmas lunch last Friday, we reassembled in the pub and started a very heated debate about what it takes to be a true global legend. At the time, we thought it was a brilliant debate and that we were all equally brilliant. On Monday, it took us a while to even remember which pub we had been in.
In conclusion to our discussion, we boiled ‘legendary status’ down to this:
To be a true global legend, you have to meet 3 essential criteria:
1. You have to change the world
2. You have to have a clear vision and strong personal values
3. Your legacy has to be enduring
We had a few other thoughts: Incrementalism doesn’t do it. Accidental heroes aren’t the same. Baddies can be legends too (as the definition of a ‘legend’ is ‘an extremely famous or notorious person’).
So alongside Nelson Mandela, we decided that Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci and Julius Caesar also made the grade. JFK was a legendary figure but it’s questionable if he really changed the world. Did Neil Armstrong have a clear vision and live by strong personal values or was he just in the right place at the right time? Is Hitler a legend even though he’s an anti-hero?
We went one step further and discussed the existence of ‘levels of legendary’. For example, there are those national legends such as Admiral Nelson in the UK or George Washington in the US. Some may even classify their friendly pub landlord as a type of local legend.
You may even say sector specific legends exist. Tim Burners-Lee in the world of technology, Walt Disney in the world of film or the Beatles in the music industry as some examples.
We really want to know what you think so join in our debate and comment your thoughts below!
Or hit the pub with your own teams to discuss…
What does ‘Global Legend’ mean to you?