What Really Matters

“Do not care overly much for wealth or power or fame, or one day you will meet someone who cares for none of these things and you will realize how poor you have become.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

A friend shared the following with me a few months ago. It came without an author or attribution, however, someone clearly deserves credit for its composition.

“Ready or not some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected whether treasures or baubles will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and loses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won’t matter where you came from or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.

It won’t matter if you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many people will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories but the memories in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.”

There is a reason I chose identical subtitles for this blog and my radio show. It is my belief that we can be who we are and fulfill our incredibly unique purpose, if we so choose.

How can you really matter to others? There are countless ways. Here are three for your consideration:

  1. Tell the people in your life how you feel about them. If this doesn’t come natural to you, all the more reason to do it more often. It will become natural. “You matter” is what many want to hear. These work well too: “I’m happy to see you.” “You mean so much to me.” “Your contribution to the team is immeasurable.” “I so appreciate you.” The language of mattering is universal. Tell people and tell them often how much they matter.
  2. Sometimes following your calling means leaving the ones you love behind. This is a tough one. Sometimes it’s not our role in this life to be the best sibling, spouse or friend because we’re here to contribute in a different and unique way. Honor what’s true for you rather than falling in line with how society tells you to prioritize. You can only be and do you.
  3. Talk about others. Few like the person in the family, at work, or at the party who only talks about themselves, their interests, their accomplishments and their importance, right? You become far more interesting and important when you talk about the exciting things other people are doing, trying, creating, writing, and sharing. Doing so gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as someone who is learning and growing from others.

68 thoughts on “What Really Matters

  1. I can relate to point 2 on here. I have a very close knit family, and had a great support system of amazing friends. But I still felt like I had to take the job in Saudi Arabia to fully realize who I am. Maybe I’m still searching; but I know a lot more now than I did before I left.

    • You are welcome. Quite possibly, downsizing could even lead to eliminating the unimportant, Colleen. Glad to have shared something that you’ll choose to revisit — often. Me, too. It’s good counsel.

  2. Reblogged this on Lead Our Lives and commented:
    What really matters, indeed. This wonderful post reminds us of just how insignificant so much of what we hold on to (grudges, anger and so on) really are. Focus on Love. Release anger and attachments. Live a life of choice…not a life by default.

    • Pretty close to perfection, I’d concur. Thanks for creating time to listen to the show. Obviously I would have welcomes a few more callers. At the same time, I understand people’s hesitancy to put themselves ‘out there.’ πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind comment about the show; it’s a fun ‘gig.’

  3. Amen my friend! Great post. I was just thinking about the ‘What is important?’ topic the other day actually. Been blessed to have been able to spend time with family and loved ones the past two weeks – and it was perfect, I would not have traded it for anything. Making memories and just enjoying life, smiling, being with people you love…that’s the good stuff right there. (In my humble opinion at least, haha.) Have a good one, Eric! Always enjoy reading your posts.

  4. Excellent post and food for thought Eric!
    What a truly moving piece of writing.
    Your points 1-3 are especially poignant as well and important reminders for what really matters.
    Beautiful ~
    ~ Andrea ❀

    • Good for you, Denise! I believe it is fair to say that many (most?) of us have made varying degrees of progress, at least we who have chosen to do this ‘work.’ Here’s to your continued growth. πŸ™‚

  5. One thing I really enjoy about your blog is how you offer concrete suggestions about the topic- i.e. how to integrate the ideas into one’s life. I believe this is a real strength of yours. I am learning a different process through witnessing it.

  6. Hi Eric, thanks for this interesting post. I particularly felt challenged by the points you brought up. Number one is hard to do at the moment with my teenage daughter. Reading your words I take heart!

    • #1 is often hard for people, at any time. I had a mentor who once challenged me to do things when it seemed hardest. That’s when it will have impact and be significant, he said. For your consideration, what if your daughter weren’t to make it to next week?

      Thank you for your always kind comments, islandrain. I’m glad these resonated with your heart.

    • Given your acknowledgement, Rommel, you’re already headed in the right direction. You’re aware that it’s something you struggle with and that’s a great starting point. Kudos for whatever you choose to do with that knowledge and if/how you choose to change. πŸ™‚

  7. You make good points as I have learned over the years.
    I dropped by to let you know I really appreciate you taking the time to read my work.

    Thank you,

  8. With a paraphrase of number one, that is how I have tried to live my life. Being a poet, I use fewer words but the message is the same. As for number one, most often we can’t wait to tell someone what/when they have done something wrong. I like to tell them what they have done that makes a difference! I believe we are on the same page.

    Thank you for following one of my blogs. I hope you continue to enjoy the posts. Now back to seeing what else you have here…

    • I’m smiling in acknowledgment as I read your comment, Lea. In the professional speaking world there is a commonly referred term: the “I/you” ratio. It essentially cautions speakers to be aware of how often their focus is on them rather than others. Ergo, your conscious effort to share with people how they have made a difference is heard and appreciated by this writer. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your kind comment.

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