I don't read email forwards from those who happily pass chain letters and such but from time to time a good friend will send you something that makes you smile or cry (or laugh so hard you start to cry). I decided to share one I received on Charles Schultz's (the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip) Philosophy on life. I didn't verify it's origin, authenticity or author (as it was not included) but the point still stands so I thought I'd add a posting on it. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the text below and you'll get the point.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners .
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
I personally believe we should all follow our dreams and pursue a successful life but only if it adds to our our significance to this world. If it's just for the rewards and accolades and not for anything else we'll be left with an empty feeling at the end of the day. Ancient wisdom tells us "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also." What do you treasure? Success or a combination of success and significance? Below is a quick acronym you can use to reveal your own answer...
T – Where do you spend the most “Time”?
R – Where do you invest the most “Resources” (a.k.a. money)?
E – Where do you invest most of your “Energy”?
A – Where do you dedicate your “Abilities” (a.k.a. your talents and skills)?
S – What occupies the most “Space” in your life (a.k.a. your house, garage, etc.)?
U – What fills your “Utterances” during the day (what do you speak about the most)?
R – What do you do for “Recreation”?
E – What are you the most “Eager” to do?
If there's more "stuff" or "things" in your answers then there are "people" you most likely have more success than you have significance. I did when I went through this exercise years ago so I write from my experience. I came to this realization many years ago and decided to change my focus to building more relationships, adding value to others, caring for people regardless of their circumstances and giving my time away to causes and people I cared about. I didn't give up my dreams to do this. I just aligned pursuit of significance with what I was already doing and made sure I didn't step over people to get to things or stuff I wanted. I invested time in building relationships with my vendors, clients, family, and co-workers and today I feel I'm pursuing a more balanced life of both success and significance.
I hope this helps you do the same. Keep dreaming those big dreams!