One of the most important things to leading a fulfilling life is a sense of significance.
We live in the era of instant connectivity with a global community, where the individual is forced to weigh his or her significance against the multitude of lives playing out on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
How do your achievements, your talents, your career, your household, your goals, your personal wealth, and your sense of self worth all stack up against the rest of the world?
The ego often shrinks and our sense of significance diminishes every time we make these comparisons.
This sort of evaluation of one’s life has been correlated many times to an increased incidence of mood disorders, particularly depression.
Maybe this comes from constantly peering into the highlight reels of other people’s lives through the keyhole of social media.
Perhaps we too frequently weigh our current self against the ideal self we have in mind at any given time, feeling we always fall short of that projection.
We want to feel as though our lives are worthwhile, that our days are well-spent. Our happiness hinges to a great extent on the perception of the meaningfulness of our lives.
What is your life’s work?
What have you created?
What have you experienced?
What sort of signature, imprint or legacy will you leave on the world after you have passed?
I’ve reflected on these questions many, many times, and more often the older I get.
Focus on Your Sphere of Influence
A person’s path to significance is not necessarily out in the vastness of the world, but is more intimate and immediate.
Your children, partner, extended family, friends, career, personal projects, and interests all constitute a portion of your life’s purpose.
All of these things we touch and affect are within our unique sphere of influence, which is the most important focal point for our energies and the platform for developing a healthy sense of significance.
Literally every thing you or I do matters in our respective sphere of influence, even if we can often feel overlooked, ineffectual or helpless.
The information put into the Universe carries forward forever. It may transform and diffuse but every event influences every other event.
There is no isolated occurrence and there is no such thing as an insignificant person.
Who knows how your daily actions and your ideas will permeate into the world?
Imparting wisdom to your children, supporting a friend, doing an excellent day’s work at your job, or offering an act of kindness to a complete stranger are all significant within that sphere of influence, and potentially beyond.
You do not need to change the world to have significance.
We can do a lot within our personal spheres of influence.
This is where we focus our sense of significance for the sake of a more fulfilling life.
We can engage in those tasks that the heart demands, and grow within the sphere of influence, expanding our boundaries every day.
Allowing our inner forces to come to life changes us within, then we project that change within our sphere of influence, and who knows, perhaps that sphere grows in time.
We shouldn’t set popularity, fame, Facebook likes, the capability to generate envy, or something as grandiose as a place in recorded history as the goal posts for significance—these are routes to disappointment and disenchantment.
While there may not be statues sculpted in our likenesses or monuments raised in our honor, we all matter, and we can all engender positive change to our world that ripples through space and time.