We all have a deep desire for significance. We want to make a difference, to be a part of something truly good and purposeful. But many of us chase after Success, mistaking this life of Self and Pleasure for what we really crave: Service and Purpose.
We live in a culture saturated with stuff. We are focused on success, and totally obsessed with salary, status, suits, and stocks.
Success, as it has traditionally been defined, is all about Self. And Self is all about pleasure. But leading psychologists have found that the pursuit of pleasure has no contribution to life satisfaction.
In the same way that half the American population is overweight but undernourished, many of us are stuffed with pleasure, but starved for purpose.
"The pursuit of pleasure has no contribution to life satisfaction." -Martin Seligman
The same psychological studies show that the pursuit of meaning is what plays the most significant role in fulfillment and satisfaction. Meaning comes from living a life of Significance. And unlike Success, Significance comes from living a life for others and serving a purpose bigger than ourselves. A life of Significance is to live a life that matters.
Many people mistakenly believe that significance is unattainable. They worry it's too big for them to achieve: that it requires a huge idea, a certain age, a lot of money, a great act, or a level of fame to make a real difference.
The good news is that none of that is true. You were made to make a difference, and to create a lasting legacy. Mother Teresa didn't have a dime to her name and didn't really do anything really that "great." But she certainly lived a life of Significance, because she transformed communities and touched lives through her service and passion.
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." -Mother Teresa
The only thing you need in order to achieve meaning and significance is to be intentional - to live life on purpose. In order to live life on purpose, the first step is to start something. You can't make a difference sitting still and doing nothing. Every major accomplishment that's ever been achieved started with one step, small step.
"The most important step of all is the first step. Start something." -Blake Mycoskie
In order to live a life of service, we have to make an intentional daily shift from:
Success to Significance
Pleasure to Purpose
Consumption to Contribution
Selfishness to Service
Criticism to Creativity
Getting to Giving
We were all wired to live a life of significance. And that desire sits in the pit of our stomach, and nags us every day we don't live in line with that calling. Because the counterintuitive truth is that, only in giving your life, do you gain it. And that is the secret to a truly rich life.