Meaning, and ‘most meaningful’, are all very subjective terms. Pretty much everything we see, hear, and feel is open for interpretation, and skewed by our past experiences. I believe it’s the meaning that we choose to place on things, whether deliberately, or without thought, that is the driving force to why we make all of our daily and long-term decisions.
Knowing this, it’s just a matter of really deciding what our values are, and then basing our decisions based on these core values. The quality of our life from day to day, as well as where we end up in a year, five years, or even ten is going to be greatly altered. The satisfaction that we have with our life will also greatly increase if we’re acting from our core values.
The Academic Dean of NYU Dental School, Dr. Andrew Spielman, one of my mentors, suggested a topic for our mentee group to discuss at our next meeting. Think big, think about the reasons, no BS, just total honesty, were the instructions. Knowing my love of personal development and introspection, you can only imagine the glow in my eyes when I heard this question.
There are so many things I hope to accomplish in life, and I’m frequently adding and subtracting from that list as I learn more about myself, what I value, what I respect, and how I envision the design of my life.
At the present time, the most meaningful thing I hope to accomplish for myself is not a thing. Having the right car and house seem rather insignificant to me in the grand scheme of the way I look at life. I’m not saying I won’t have these things in the future, just that they’re not the MOST important.
Being with the person I love, having a loving family and children, and a career I’m totally engaged with are way up there, but still not the MOST important thing… I mean, if I had to pick. They’re a bi-product of the most important thing though; a lovely side effect if you will.
The most important thing I hope to accomplish in life is to be the person that I set out to be. I know that if I am that person, then everything else I desire in my life will be within my reach, and I’ll create the energy, courage, and resources to get the rest. The person that I’m talking about, the one that I want to grow into, is the one I’ve written my mission statement for.
A mission statement is less about where we were, and more about who we’re becoming, based on where we’re striving to be. It’s a moral backbone that will give us integrity, guide us, and allow us to draw wisdom towards every decision that we make. Here’s mine:
- I am an outstanding human being in every respect
- I am honest, kind, loving, loyal and true – to my family, friends and everyone who knows me
- I am a positive, optimistic, confident, warm, friendly person who is admired and respected by everyone
- I am an excellent parent, a fine employer and I do my work in an upstanding fashion every time
- I uplift, encourage and inspire everyone I meet – everywhere I go
This list makes me uncomfortable, because it’s a stretch and a growth from where I am right now. Some days I’m some of these things, some of them I haven’t been able to achieve yet, but all of the things on this list are pointing me into a certain direction. In a way, they color my perceptions of people, places, and things. They skew my decision making mechanism every day. They’re bringing me a step closer to MY most important thing.
I believe it’s very important to earn the greatest things in life. To become the type of person that can acquire them, and handle them, without letting them go sour or slip through our fingers. It’s like people that win a tremendous sum of money, or become overnight celebrities, but then encounter a downward spiral and end up broke and addicted. We hear this all the time, and it’s because they weren’t prepared for it, they did not build themselves up as a person to control such a situation. To me it seems that becoming an outstanding human being is the foundation for the other great things in life.
You have to remember, this is my opinion, and it happens to be right for me. For you, according to your core values, something else might feel right and is totally and equally just as acceptable. What’s the most important thing you hope to accomplish in life? (I promise to respond to all comments ASAP)