Significance is defined as the quality of being worthy of attention or importance. We all strive for it. Desire attention; crave importance. To leave a legacy, make a mark, or dent the universe.
Wanting or desiring significance isn’t inherently wrong and it seems quite natural. But I think our innate drive for significance gets perverted very quickly.
If significance is about attention and importance, then shouldn’t we be giving significance instead of seeking it? Shouldn’t our actions and the quality of who we are, create significance instead of our manufacturing or demanding significance?
Mother Theresa didn’t set out to be significant. She gave significance to Calcutta's poorest of the poor. She lived her purpose; Mother Theresa was her purpose. She saw everyone was worthy of attention and importance, and she, in turn, became one of the most significant people of our time.
We live in a world in which everyone wants to change the world. The underlying motive, I can only fathom, is this unquenchable thirst for significance. “I’m going to change the world; therefore I am worthy of your attention, and I am important!”
And oh so few actually change the world.
Purpose comes before significance. Purpose gives birth to significance. Without purpose, significance is very hard to come by.
To those close to me, hopefully, I am significant--but it will be because of two things: (1) Because I’m fulfilling my purpose and (2) I am making those around me significant first. As a loving husband, I must be thoughtful and give my wife significance. As a loving father, I carry out my purpose and responsibilities for my children. I show them they are extremely important to me and I give them attention, significance. The more on purpose I am, the more significance I can bring to those around me.
Significance is not to be sought. It’s to be earned from a job well done; a life well lived. Significance is gained through purpose. It is not meant to be achieved; significance is meant to be given.
Your life lived purposefully will earn you significance. But along the way, you must be a giver of significance. Who in your life are you giving worthy attention and importance to?
Do you want significance? Do you want to change the world? I’d suggest you start living your purpose and giving significance first to those in your world.