In America, we have been taught to seek success. The subject of success is pushed more forcefully to us in sales and marketing. There is always one more objective or one more step forward we are encouraged to attain.
Success, success, success!
I write and teach a lot about success. I have studied and taught on the subject for more than 42 years. As a result, I believe success, to a large degree, is our choice.
You can accomplish great things if you believe you can, follow a system, break the system down into daily activity and then manage that activity.
I also enjoy a level of success in several disciplines. Since the early 1970s there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who have looked to me as a role model and/or mentor. I receive messages from people who have read one of my books, heard me speak, or have been a protégée and desire to do what I do. In one way it’s very flattering – in another it’s very sobering.
Here’s what I have learned – success, for the sake of success, is not the end game.
Success is fickle. It has no loyalties. Success has no clear definition. It means different things in different cultures and to different people. What may be success to me is mediocrity to someone else. Success is elusive – it is always just a little beyond where you currently are.
More important than success is significance. When setting your goals think beyond mere success; set your eyes on achieving significance.
Why? Because success is a narrow field of accomplishment – a “me” mentality with limited impact. Seeking significance broadens the playing field, widens your opportunities and assures a positive impact on others. I desire to be significant more than I desire success.
By using the word “significant” I mean to convey the idea of being “meaningful.” Several years ago I came face to face with my own immortality. I was literally seconds away from death.
That event changed everything for me!
I no longer want to achieve goals simply to reach the top – wherever or whatever that is. I want to leave a meaningful legacy. I want to positively impact other lives. I want the world to be a better place because of my contribution, if possible.
It’s what one does with success that makes the difference between the two.
If you truly want your life to count, to achieve significance, I believe you must first learn to give to others. Your focus should be on something bigger and greater than you are.
I know its counter cultural. We live in a “me” generation. But for those who only think about what you want, when you want it, I want you to mull over a concept.
If, at the end of your life, there are trophies and money and world acclaim you may be described as successful. If you leave something greater than you are that carries on, you may be described as significant.
It is your choice. I challenge you to go beyond success.
Make today a significant one.