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Aspire to Significance 

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 06:59AM by Registered CommenterLon Langston | Comments1 Comment | References5 References

I want to write about Ronald Reagan this week. The challenge is that everyone and his sister is writing about Reagan this week, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Restating all the stuff that everyone else is restating is a waste of your time and mine.

Ronald Reagan was a fan of C. S. Lewis. Despite what Joy Behar thinks, C. S. Lewis wrote more than just children’s books. And even his “children’s” books have complex and deeply meaningful themes. One of my favorite quotes is from Lewis. In “Mere Christianity,” he says, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”

It is the same way with happiness and significance: Aim at a life of significance and you will get joy thrown in. Aim at living happily ever after and you will get neither joy nor significance.

So what is significance? Let’s start with what it is not. Significance is not spending your days doing a job for which you have no passion. Significance is not living just 2/7’s of your life (the weekend). Significance is not marking time until 59½ years of age or 30 years of service. Significance is not going along to get along. Significance is not working for The Man. 

Significance is also not avoiding responsibility, as the above might seem to imply. Responsibility and significance are both rooted in prioritizing the well-being of others above your own well-being. But this prioritization does not mean subjugating your will to that of others, even if they are your parents, bosses, spouse, children or government officials. 

You are not living a life of significance if you are subjugating your will to others. You are also not living a life of significance if you are forcing your will upon others. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord. It is doing others a disservice to think them better or worse than you. Of course, there are differing levels of intellect, skill and talent and, as a result, accomplishment. Everyone is not the same, but everyone deserves to be respected, not patronized and certainly not belittled.

A life of significance is knowing who you are and why you are here. And it is using the resulting confidence and clarity to positively impact the lives of everyone with whom you come into contact, especially, but by no means exclusively, family, friends and work associates. So significance is synonymous with responsibility.

Your job, your mission, your purpose, is not to give others fish. It is to teach them how to fish. It is not responsible to enable dependent behavior. It is both responsible and significant to teach others, by word and deed, how to fish for themselves, emotionally, intellectually, and financially.

Living a life of significance is being a maker not a taker. Living a life of significance is holding yourself to the highest standards of integrity and self-reliance and helping others obtain the same standards through your exhortation and example.

Charles Krauthammer wrote, “In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office of the President had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. And America had become ungovernable. Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.”

Ronald Reagan lived a life of significance.

“My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference.”  -Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, 1989 

 

Thank you for reading this post. If you found it enjoyable, enlightening, edifying, useful…please recommend it to your friends, family, co-workers, customers, vendors…And please check out other Point28 posts below. Thank You! –Lon 

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Reader Comments (1)

Lon,
I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading others. God bless you!
May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterR. Driver

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