The Meaning of Significance

March 03, 2013

The Meaning of Significance

We all want to be successful. Our society values success very highly. And I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. But I think being obsessed with success makes us forget that it's more important to be significant. What do I mean? What is the meaning of significance?

I think this quote sums it up well:

The difference between success and significance is not being the best in the world, but rather the best for the world
Dewitt Jones

Another way of looking at it is: What will people say about you after you're gone? The people who really knew you. If you were very successful, sure they'll acknowledge that.

But if you were a good person, if you made a positive difference in people's lives - if you were significant to them, then people will speak appreciatively of you.

But I'm not just talking about when you enter the Great Beyond. What about the people you work with and manage? What will your legacy be with them? If you leave your job, will you have been significant to them?

Did you help your colleagues do their jobs better? Did you do your own job not just well, but in a way that made a real difference to the company?

That's the meaning of significance.

What would your coworkers say if you didn't come in tomorrow?

I think it's bull when someone feels they're irreplaceable at a company. Because everyone should strive to do their job in a way where the next person to do it will do it better because of them, not in spite of them.

That's the meaning of significance.

When people talk about retired coaches, the coaches' reputations are usually not based on wins and losses, so much as what their players said about them. Because only the players, who saw them up-close, could know if they were truly significant.

So where do you fall?

Are you successful?

Or are you significant?




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