Success vs. Significance

“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall

What is the legacy you want to leave from your life here on this earth? I find that this is such a broad question that it can be hard to wrap my head around what it truly means. Perhaps it helps to rephrase today’s quote in a more specific and time sensitive fashion.

For whom do you want to make a difference today and what kind of difference do you want to make?

Everyday we have an opportunity, no, we have an obligation to answer the question about what kind of difference we want to make with our lives. We weren’t born to simply live, accumulate things, and worry about how and to whom the fruits of our labors will be redistributed to when we pass away. We were born to make a difference in the lives of others.

That can mean one person, or it can mean thousands of people through the course of your life. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have to decide to make a difference; today. If you answer this question today, and every day, then you can never stray far from living a life of meaning and impact.

When you switch your focus from creating a life based on earthly success measures, and instead focus on creating a life of significance that is what will build a life of meaning. Your legacy becomes not the goal but is instead the result of thousands of daily decisions made for others, not for yourself.

Life is not transactions…

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

William James

This quote reminds me of the dangers of carrying a transactional viewpoint on people, life, and work.  The problem is that it is just so easy to get caught up in the activities of life and forget that we aren’t here to simply transact. 

A transaction is nothing more than an exchange of something I have, for something I want and the worldly measure of success says that if we get more than we give we have won.  But when you focus on giving, on providing more value in return than you have received, you open the door to really making a difference in the lives of others.  

Below is one of my favorite videos of all time and it does an incredible job showing how every person has a story.  Everyone should be treated with dignity, honor, and respect and you might never know the impact your smile could have on their day.  

What you do matters, and the difference it makes to another person might just mean all the difference in the world…

 

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