When you look at those numbers above, you see that in the middle of them is a dash. What might look like a simple dash in that series of numbers is in reality one of the most important parts of our life. The first set of numbers represents the year that we were born and the latter is of course the year of our passing. It is all those years that are in between that make that little dash so powerful.
We are all born with the ability to achieve greatness. Some of our lives will be affected by our surroundings, upbringing, often the hand we are dealt and ultimately our will. In reality, what that dash represents is the life that we carve out for ourself, the things that we do during that period and the ability that we have to change our little part of the world.
I have written before about people who go on to achieve greatness. Yet, the reality is that greatness is in the eye of the beholder. Being famous does not make you great. Being a movie star does not make you great. Being a major league athlete does not even make you great. What makes you great is your ability to have an impact on the world that you live in and to make people’s lives a little better. People aren’t great because they are rich and as a result can control the world. People aren’t great because they have 2 million YouTube followers that revel in their ability to be a narcissist. People aren’t even great because they can say stupid things on YouTube or Twitter and get millions of people to tune in. It is what they do with their success and new found wealth that ultimately determines how great they really are.
It has always been amazing to me that the people with the most compassion for others are the ones that seem to be the least interesting to people. They struggle to build their social connections one person at a time, when more connections would ultimately increase the ability to do more good. Yet, silliness and ridiculousness can immediately get you tons of followers. Now, I don’t discount or begrudge an individual’s ability to be successful in these endeavors, nor people’s need to escape from the reality of what is going on in the world around them. Some of these people do really good things with their success. Like all of us, once they get to the end of their life they too will be measured by their dash and the impact they had on being able to leave the world a little better off than they found it. Focus on your dash today and as you do always remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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Mornings With Ron is now available as a podcast at anchor.fm/morningswithron and on Apple, Google, Spotify and most podcasting sites.