Success or Significance?

When I was younger, I once worked for a Manila-based national newspaper. As a writer, I got to produce some articles there exploring life issues, such as “Impermanence” and so on.

It’s a unique developmental stage of my life when I felt lost. Directionless. With writing and struggles in the field - both personally and professionally, I finally searched more deeply for life’s meaning. 

I thought the meaning of life is about SUCCESS.

Financial success, in particular.

I was in one sense like David, a client, who regards his multimillion business and profits as his “be-all,” even a greater priority than his marriage and family.

“I’d rather have a lot of money than repair my marriage where I’m unhappy,” he’d boast.

Financial success is indeed the world’s most powerful motivator. And it possesses and controls the lives of millions (even billions!) of people.

It does can develop into an all-consuming passion. Proven to leave so many with psychological disorders as well as moral breakdowns in its wake.

Consider success’ limitations. It ebbs and flows. No matter the amount of success earned, it always leaves you wanting more.  It never satisfies the deepest longings of your heart and soul.

Don’t waste your life. Seek SIGNIFICANCE instead.

A significant life focuses on people, not dollars. It lives with less, so it can invest more in serving others. It only uses money to pay bills, but uses passion or purpose to pay the soul.

Even if financial success comes your way, your mind is in a better place when you’re choosing to live a significant life.

You use resources to create broader significance. To live a life of integrity, morality, and generosity.

I’m reminded of present-day billionaire, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. He donates 80% or so of his income to philanthropy and worthwhile causes in the service of humankind.

Or, if you go to biographies, we have names like Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, or missionaries like Hudson Taylor, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, even Filipino Bo Sanchez or pastor Dr. Chuck Swindoll as models of the significant life.

Leo Rosten writes:

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

Live a life worth copying. Choose to live a SIGNIFICANT LIFE as a good, passing human.

As popular vlogger Rob Dial put it, “When you die, they won’t remember your car or house. They will remember who you were. Be a good human, not a good materialist.”