Quality of Life, Varies

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“The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but rather what he longs to attain.” Β ~ Kahlil Gibran

Reference.com defines significance as, “importance; consequence; meaning.” I’ve previously posted about significance and given what I believe it means to many, I’m revisiting it.

Significance is not a subject on which people often dwell. Instead, many are focused on achieving success, however one defines success. When you ‘Google’ the word significance you find abundant reference to: statistics, physics, ethics, religion, history, locations, and significant others. But you need to dig deeper to find works that address it in the context of life meaning and the accumulation of moments that matter.

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It’s easy to feel like small acts of kindness are unimportant in the big scheme of things, especially in parts of our world that are captivated by fame, promotion and bravado. But small acts can be incredibly important. Life stories, even legacies, are not possible without a series of meaningful acts; with each moment adding on a quality to the next.

A person who is leading a significant life is unimpressed with him/herself.

Many of us are passionately engaged on the road towards success (I certainly once was), but if we are asked whether or not we are living a life of significance, some may not have an answer. It’s not easy. And it’s not for everyone. Creating a life of significance takes planning and awareness of your calling, values, and goals. And this is something that can become lost in day-to-day living. However, it is attainable.

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Copious choices exist if living a life of significance is an aspiration. Here are three possibilities to consider:

  1. There are opportunities every day to learn new things, meet new people, explore new ideas, and contribute to the betterment of yourself. Many only appear once. Don’t miss them. Or… maybe you’d rather create them!
  2. Contemplate telling your truth of the moment. (It evolves as you grow and change.) Be authentic by your definition, not what others cast upon you. When you become grounded in who you are, it becomes easier to push beyond limits and live more significantly.
  3. Opportunities for turning what you do into ‘what you give back’ are virtually limitless. If you’re itching to shift your focus towards doing things of greater value, what would you consider to be the most pressing issues of our time? How could you leverage your skills and interests to help solve a piece of those problems?

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Significance can be core to the overall quality of how you live your life. In part, it’s about ‘who you are’ and how your choices have a ripple effect on your family, community, and the wider world.

40 thoughts on “Quality of Life, Varies

  1. Excellent post Eric. Have you heard of Logotherapy created by Viktor Frankl? It focuses on discovery of where you find meaning and purpose in life. Your article reminded me of the richness of this pursuit.

    • Ah yes, a “Will to Meaning”… a most powerful and motivating force in humans. It is appropriate that a man who survived what he did, would form subsequent theories in such a positive and constructive framework. Yet that is Frankl. Thanks for acknowledging the post in such a kind manner, Linda. I hadn’t made the asscoiation.

  2. “A person who is leading a significant life is unimpressed with him/herself.” -This line alone says so much. When we are caught up in ego we aren’t doing much for the rest of the world.
    I believe every choice we make affects others…if we remember this perhaps we will make an effort to make positive choices.
    I like the points you’ve given us to consider.

  3. great post. as i’m now studying the world of social media, i’m wondering – how can i make this is a significant pursuit, when there is so much ‘fluff’ out there? what organizations can i support with the skills i’m learning? how can i bring authenticity to this world where so much of it is about numbers/sales/marketing? i’m fascinated by all the communication but want to bring meaning to it. πŸ™‚ thanks, aleya

    • Yours are valid and thoughtful questions, Aleya. I applaud you for your awakened perspective and wish you well as you explore ways in which to bring meaning to all of what you next choose to do. Onward with your noble outlook!

    • Thank you, SSM. I hadn’t readily thought of this in terms of “the road less traveled.” Yet it is! Good of you to highlight this perspective. In acknowledging living significantly as a challenge, I can see where/how some people may be hesitant to travel said road.

  4. I really love this message! I particularly like the charge to live like according to what I define as significant, not what others put on me. That’s a powerful statement, Eric. Very challenging, but important. Thank you, Eric.

    • Living a significant life is not for everyone, Debra. If it’s something that one chooses and uniquely defines, all the better. You then own it and can hold yourself accountable for the manner in which you elect to live and contribute. Indeed, challenging; it’s these matters that can keep us on our toes and meaningfully engaged. Thank you for your always thoughtful comments.

  5. Another message I need to absorb. I’ve been grappling with the significance of what I do in life. I cringe at periods of time that I thought I was living a very significant life, to realize later, no I was not. Understanding a ‘significant life’ is life changing. Thankfully.

    • This, in part, is why I titled my blog so. πŸ™‚ When friends read, reflect and then choose to revisit perspectives, based (a wee bit) on seeds I’ve planted — then I’m a happy camper. Happy for you, more than me. Thankfully. πŸ™‚

  6. #3 – Great point! We all have unique gifts and also life experiences that line up in a way that only we can turn around and contribute that to others. Good reminder to think of others and the power of a giving spirit.

  7. I feel significantly insignificant to the larger problem we’re facing with ISIS and that whole movement. The only thing I could do now to help a piece of the problem is to hop myself on a bike insteada my car and buy chopped wood for my fireplace. The thing of it is, I don’t really know if my fireplace is decorative or utilitarian. I just haven’t looked into it.

    Anyhow, I’m just tired of the whole Middle East thing.

    • In your oft (and sometimes, not so) πŸ™‚ subtle ways, I hear and empathize with you totsymae. There are legions of us (Americans and other global citizens) who feel these senseless conflicts, all driven by the same greed and need, are pointless. While it is temting to ascend my soapbox and expound away, I’ll simply encourage your to enjoy a fire in your fireplace. I find such a setting quite calming and hope you can too. Here’s wishing you and us, peace.

  8. I like how you got me to think about significances and successes… Too often am I caught up in the idea of success and that goal that I have set or can see down the road, that I miss the little significances that life offers every day. Yet it is really paying attention and living life within these great small, yet significant moments that pepper out lives where we find what we need to achieve the successes we truly dream about. I guess what I really have gotten out of this post, is that it is the little things that matter ~ true significance comes from listen and doing these small things well that provide a foundation for real success.

    • I have read (by more than one author) that you can have success without having lived significantly but you cannot lead and appreciate a life of significance without having had success. And I’m unsure I agree with such a reflection. But that’s for another exchange.

      You strike me as someone who is capable of working on/toward both, simultaneously. I’ve been traveling a more traditional path where one first captures material success and then determines if/how they want to parlay that ‘success’ into living and doing more, significantly… a word/term that can be uniquely defined by each of us.

      Enjoy your journey and the inherent exploring, Randy. And thanks for your always thoughtful comments.

  9. Living a significant life for me is connecting with the surrounding and the people around me. They are lots of acts of kindness we can engage in on a daily basis. Small actions do make an impact, especially to the people who need them!

    • Exactly, Liz. It’s often the small acts that count beyond measure. And that yield gratitude for all engaged/involved in/with the act. Thanks for sharing how things are significant to you. Here’s to your and our continued kindness.

  10. “Opportunities for turning what you do into β€˜what you give back’ are virtually limitless.”……. So true Eric… And when you do give… you would be amazed at what is returned. πŸ™‚ Thank you

    • I’m sure there is some scientifically validated study (Law of Reciprocity?) that quantifies the amazing return you cite, Sue. After all, isn’t much of our world based and measured on some ROI-like mechanism? I say that tongue in cheek, of course. What we experience and know is that this is a qualitative matter that cannot be measured. And why ought it be? πŸ™‚

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