21 May 2011

Being significant

cbs0114 300x195 Being significantMany times in my life, I have heard comments like, “one day I’m going to be someone“.

Well, what is being someone? And do we all have to land on the moon to get there?

To me, being  someone is simply being significant in your own sphere of influence.

Being significant is generally achieved by playing to your strengths, and doing what you can do, very well.

For some, this might be being a fantastic parent, for others it might be being a great librarian, an inspirational coach, a cheerful bus driver, a community volunteer, or a great neighbour.  Being significant is about using your skills to add value to something or someone (or many).

I get a little dismayed when I see how some people, many of them quite young, view being significant as having a high paid job, looking like a model in a magazine, having the best house in the street, or appearing on Big Brother or another of those invasive reality shows.  Many people of great significance throughout history didn’t enjoy the limelight, did not possess material wealth, and didn’t sell their souls to seek either.  Those who are famous or rich are no more significant than anyone else in this world; this skewed perception has been created by consumerism and the media.

Being significant is about understanding where your place is in the universe and performing well with the skills, capabilities and opportunities you have.  It is not about being better than the next person, being able to brag the most about your “success” at the school reunion, or being invited to the most “exclusive” parties.

Now, I am not saying do not follow a dream and aggressively break through barriers to achieve it – of course you should, but be sure it is the right dream you are following… your dream, and not an amalgam of others’ dreams.  Many have lived a life of continual dissatisfaction because they haven’t followed their dream and find themselves leading someone else’s life.

As Max Ehrmann said in his poem Desiderata:

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

So continue to go forth and be significant, as only you can be.