What’s Your Legacy? 1 In 3 People Want To Be Remembered For This Quality

NEW YORK — It’s not fortune or fame Americans want to be remembered for — it’s their creativity. A survey of 2,000 adults reveals that at the end of their lives almost one in three people (31%) would rather leave their mark through creativity, even over traits like intelligence (20%), wealth (14%), or humanitarian efforts (10%).

The good news is that 79 percent of Americans surveyed consider themselves creative, with only five percent sharing that they don’t. Still, nearly three-quarters (72%) still wish they engaged in creative activities more often. 

This may be because Americans use writing (14%), painting (12%), and drawing or doodling (10%) as a way to alleviate and combat stress. Along with bonding with friends and family (24%) and sharing their creativity with others (27%), Americans find relaxing or relieving stress (22%) as one of their top three motivators for engaging in creative activities.

Regardless of how respondents categorized themselves, 77 percent admit they’d be more likely to explore their creativity if they were more confident in their abilities.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sharpie® and Paper Mate®, the survey also explores ways Americans are basking in their creativity and found that many are thinking outside the box. When asked to define “creative,” the top ways Americans described the word vary — 65 percent define it as either “expressing yourself” or “coming up with new ideas,” yet 43 percent still associate creativity with artistic ability

“It’s inspiring to see just how many Americans consider themselves creative, though it’s clear that there is more creativity to be unleashed,” says spokesperson Gina Lazaro, Vice President, Brand Management, Sharpie and Paper Mate, in a statement. “In addition to a lack of creative confidence, people are looking for encouragement to be creative from people they care about (44%), more practice (43%) and products that aid with creativity (36%) to help them. With the right tools in-hand Americans can overcome some of those barriers to creativity and improve their well-being.”

infographic on what people would rather be remembered for

The survey reveals that, on average, respondents felt the most creative at age 25, though 20 percent harnessed the most creativity during their childhood. This wasn’t the case for Gen Zers, however, as almost half (49%) of the 90 Gen Z respondents are in their “creativity era” and feel most creative at their current age.

Overall, 75 percent of respondents agree that their creativity is a reflection of their personal brand. This was especially true for the youngest generation, as 94 percent of Gen Z respondents agree.

Almost one in five (18%) of all respondents engage in creative activities daily, while another 37 percent do so weekly, and noon is their peak creative hour. Results also reveal the youngest generation is perhaps most immersed in their creative side. Two in five Gen Zers surveyed (41%) participate in creative activities every single day.

“Results revealed that an astounding 77 percent of respondents admit they’d be more inclined to explore their creativity if they were more confident in their abilities,” says Lazaro. “Whether it’s simple activities like doodling on the margins of a paper or adding color to your calendar, creative confidence can be built in small ways on an everyday basis.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Sharpie and Paper Mate between Dec. 21 and Dec. 25, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


  1. I was hoping that most people would want to b e remembered for being kind and decent human beings.

Comments are closed.