We were discussing living a life of significance by design. Sometimes, people fall into significant roles. Leaders emerge, the planets align, there’s a roll of the dice and something that would seem insignificant suddenly takes on a new purpose.
Take the case of Schindler, the Nazi who saved 1200 Jews from execution. He led an insignificant life before and after the incidents, but his efforts to protect the Jews during the war cost him his fortune. He lived on assistance after failing to thrive in Argentina. Before the war, he had an affair that resulted in 2 children. He was also arrested for public drunkenness. But during the war, he showed remarkable ingenuity and persistence.
Since we’re talking about the 2nd World War, how about Hitler? Did he live a significant life. Obviously he did. He united a broken country, revived its economy and its morale, and conquered a great deal of the European continent. And he exterminated Jews, Gypsies, Gays, ethnic Poles and Slavs. He changed the ethnic mix in Europe drastically. It was a significant life, but it was terribly bad. Truman also fell into a significant life. His decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed over 200,000 people, and the lasting effects are still being measured. It was felt that this decision saved many more lives than it cost, but there is no way to measure this. How do you rate Truman’s significance? Good or bad? There is no definitive way to tell.
So significance has an element of luck involved. Each of the above were in the right place at the right time.
One can determine, however, the type of significance a person can have. If the person has a good character, most likely, his/her significance will be positive. Without the character, it is an educated guess on the positive or negative results.
If you decided that you wanted a significant life, and you wanted it to be positive, you would first make sure you were a person of good character. You’d join Scouts or Campfire, or the church youth group to improve yourself. You would surround yourself with ethical people of good character and you would study what it means to have good character. See my earlier posts on Character…
You would have to study to have a good knowledge base so that should the opportunity arise, you’d be prepared to step into the role. You’d have to make sure you could connect with people and reflect on experiences to glean lessons to use as a person of significance, even if you had NO IDEA what position you’d find yourself and whether that position would lead to your being significant. What would have happened if Clark Kent had been a slacker with loose morals and a selfish attitude? (Oh wait, he would have been Wade Wilson.)
The biggest obstacle to overcome is your self talk. Your view of yourself has to be a person of significance, of influence, of a force for good. To that end, you must plan your life to include personal growth in intelligence and intuitive abilities, in self control, in physical fitness, and spiritual focus on character and morals. Next time, we will discuss how this can be accomplished. Think on these things.