The Journey to Significance #3 – What really is significance?

A Chicago family packs for a vacation, ca. 1946

What really is significance?

A wise man once said that if you don’t know where you are going to, every road will look like it. And even when you get there you wouldn’t realize.

As much as possible, I want to reduce the level of assumption in this journey. Assumption has been said to be the lowest form of intelligence. In this post I will talk deeply on the subject of significance.

The journey to significance is a lifelong demand. It’s a point where you are not only relevant to things that relate to you but also to things that do not. It is when everything around you feels the impact of your existence.

We need to realize that life won’t last forever. Despite the reality that life will come to an end, no one likes to think about it. As soon as you start thinking about the end of your life, you begin to live differently in the present.

Significance is about your legacy and no one is too young to think about it. At the end of the day, how do you want people to remember you and what do you really want to accomplish before you die? Write it down and post it somewhere you will observe that you will rarely write “drive a really nice car” or “live in a very big house” ever appear on it.

Live your life whereby you replicate yourself in others. Live a life worth modelling. A life of integrity, character, selflessness and morality. Let your life be transparent. Although no one is perfect but you can work towards it by striving towards living a life of integrity.

Focus on people not money. Begin to transfer your life’s focus from your bank accounts to the people around you. Focus on your family, friends, neighbor, your disadvantaged community rather than worrying about the next get-rich-quick scheme. This is the secret of great men like John D Rockerfeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill gates and so many more.

We’ve heard this again and again. In anything and everything, start from where you are. Identify that one person around you who needs you today. Significance may be as inexpensive as one cup of coffee, a $1 transport fare or as simple as one heartfelt question.

As you carry out your daily business, find a career of significance. Find a career outside your job. Sometimes our job may lead to significance and in some cases may not. You can find a career outside your job by volunteering with a local organization or NGO. Sacrifice your talents and gifts for others. Use your job to pay your bill and use your new career to pay your soul. Try this, visit an orphanage and spend just 5 minutes of your time with the kids and see how fulfilled you will feel when you get out.

Success is not equal to significance. Many of us relate significance to success. Significance is not success. It’s way beyond that. And also, significance is not dependent on success. Too many people think that when they become rich, they become significant. This is rarely the case. As we established in the first post, you can be successful and not be significant but you cannot be significant and not be a success. In any thing you do from now on focus on the impact. Choose significance today, in fact, begin striving for it now. In the future, when financial success comes your way, you will have a better frame of mind to truly use your new success or wealth to broaden your significance.

Associate yourself with the right people, ready biographies of people who sought significance rather than success. Myles Munroe, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, lived significant lives. Their lives will inspire you to make more of yours.

Remember, when you are old, you will not look back looking at the things you have achieved. You will maybe forget you even had a degree. What will be most important will be the impact your life has had on others.

Here’s a challenge for you. I want you to write a letter to your future self. Just imagine writing a letter to yourself 5 or 10 years from now, then opening it at that exact moment 5 or 10 years down the road to read the message that the past you left for yourself.
If you find this difficult, (LOL) you can write a letter to your future self when you are 100 years old.

This is a useful tool to use in achieving your goals and living towards significance. Because when you write a letter to your future self, it helps you crystalize your ideal vision for yourself in the future. Doing this exercise will be an insightful experience.

Have a great day!

Best Regards,

Oluwadara Adekunle


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