Significance is Success
There are not many people that I know who don’t want to be successful. Success often shapes how we view ourselves. The more success we have the better we tend to view ourselves. We learn the feeling of success very early in life. Success in most cases is tied closely to individual accomplishments based on individual goals.
I grew up poor in the inner-city of Philadelphia. My mother finished high school while my dad had a 10th grade education. Every dollar that we had was hard earned. Growing up my definition of success was shaped in part by being better off than my parents. I eventually went on to college earning a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University. I continued pursuing my educational goals obtaining a M.S. and PhD in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. I was well on my way to living a successful life. I achieved a higher level of education then my parents. I was making more money with my first job than my father made. The more success I had to more I wanted to be successful. During the early years of my career success provided fulfillment. There was a thrilling feeling each time I was able to set my sights on a goal and achieve it. I noticed that as I climb up the ladder of success that success in and of itself no longer provided fulfillment. The problem is not with success but with how I defined success. I started to realize that life is not just about me.
We are offered a false choice of success or significance as if you have to choose one of the other. Significance doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Significance is how others view and are affected by your actions. Significance is a measure of the impact that you have on other people’s lives. It is not just about you. Let’s say it again, Life, success, winning, is not just about you. How are you using what you have to positively affect the lives of those around you.