Friday, July 25, 2008

Significance

In life we are bombarded with what needs to be done in order to be successful. We tell our kids what they need to do in order to achieve success, our bosses let us know what has to be done in order to gain successful status in the industry, and we are constantly having internal conversations with ourselves on how we can become more successful. Our quest for success is fed to us at a young age and its pursuit lasts a lifetime. So, my question is; are we really sending the right message?

Look at the world today and you see a band of citizens continually seeking success in their lives only to find out that in our quest for success we look to shortcuts and dishonest practices once we learn that success is tough to achieve. In our search for success we find that once we have achieved any semblance of it, it is even tougher to maintain and expand upon, therefore we prey on others to help us gain more success. In doing so we are just fulfilling the prophecy that has been imprinted on us since we were young. In essence we are searching for an idea that has no real definition or measure other than an external perception that will feed our ego. Because humans are an ego driven species we continue to push to have our ego stroked and recognized so that we can feel good about ourselves when we go to bed at night.

My confession is I am just a guilty of this as anyone. I work with people daily where I am trying to get them to understand that the decisions they make will either foster success or create possible failures where they can then learn from in order to eventually succeed. This has led me to question what I am actually teaching. In order to gain an insightful answer we first must ask ourselves an insightful question, and my question is; when is the last time I told someone to become significant instead of successful? I honestly think that the answer is never.

Imagine the message we are sending if we ask someone to think of becoming significant. We are now asking them to become meaningful, to become momentous and influential, to become substantial, and most importantly to become something not merely by chance.

In preaching success our message is muddled and at some point success becomes defined by the amount of fame, wealth, or power one gains. Through significance we go beyond external perceptions or materialistic acquisitions and are forced to look at legacy above individual achievement. If we are to become significant we need to honor the codes of years passed where integrity, honesty, and reputation do matter when dealing with others. In significance we create immortality while our success is a temporary state of perception.

If we are able to get ourselves to honestly answer the significance of our existence over the success we have achieved, just imaging the impact we can have on those we come in contact with. If we lead others to seek significance instead of success the possibilities are endless in what we can get others to actually achieve. It is possible to become both significant and successful; in fact they come packaged together when significance is achieved first. I don’t think the same can be said about success alone, which can go as quickly as it came with no lasting impact outside our immediate surroundings.

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