Don’t Settle For Success…


It may have been a concept I heard in a sociology or economics course along the way… though it could just as likely be something I picked up in a sermon, or learned from an elderly neighbor when I was a kid.

After all, Mr.Andrews was known throughout the neighborhood as knowing something about everything… and he regularly gave out advice and life lessons that I assumed he had learned personally from Abe Lincoln or Ben Franklin or the Founding Fathers or someone.

At least at the time… I assumed that he and they were all about the same age!

But the idea is this, in societies in general… and in our lifetimes in particular… people transition from early states of SURVIVAL and DEPENDENCE (which unfortunately some seem content to remain), to eventual STABILITY and (possibly… hopefully) SUCCESS.

And in America today, this is what most are striving for… success.

In fact, the drive to succeed permeates not only our activities, but is also the force behind much of the competition that engulfs our relationships. To illuminate, if one is to succeed in attaining a “position” in the corporate world, he or she must often do it at the expense of someone else failing to attain it.

But is succeeding all there really is, and… are YOU settling for success?


Okay, so now back to my neighbor and sage advice.

You see, beyond survival… and beyond dependence… after becoming stable and successful… there is a higher place. Yes, a fifth step that few aspire to… and even fewer reach.

It is… in a word… SIGNIFICANCE.

To contrast, SUCCESS is tied up in the achievement of personal health, wealth, and happiness. It is focused on you becoming everything you can be… and having all you can have.

And it often comes wrapped in STATUS… a game in which the “winner” acquires things they neither want nor need… with money they do not really have… to impress people they don’t necessarily like!

Yes, SUCCESS is all about the impact to us and our lives.

SIGNIFICANCE, on the other hand, is all about impacting others.


American philosopher William James (1842-1910) once said that “the greatest use of one’s life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

In these few words, and with such simple eloquence, I find my definition of SIGNIFICANCE. It happens when we invest our time and energy… our resources and emotions and experience… to help and encourage and uplift others.

It is evident when we give without thought of receiving… and when we put the NEEDS of others ahead of the WANTS of ourselves.

A life of SIGNIFICANCE is the cumulative effect of many years of commitment to selfless living, and is reflected in the faces of those who are better off because… in some fashion, big or small… we have touched their lives for the better.

Indeed, significance is what gives success ANY MEANING at all. And it is what I wish for you today.


I look forward to hearing from you.



What one thing could you do for someone this week that would be an absolute game-changer in some aspect of their life?

What would you need to re-prioritize in your life to do it?

Will you?


Photo Credit:

.Jennifer Leigh.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Settle For Success…

  1. Very sage advice! Thanks. I appreciate it. You are becoming, if you aren’t already;your neighborhood’s Mr. Andrews.


  2. Hi Mike,

    Love the point you made in your article about whether your goals are moving you closer to success… or significance. It really illustrates and clarifies where one’s thinking and priorities are.

    Have a great day!


  3. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Matt. I’m am very happy that we connected on Facebook, and especially on Twitter. Talk to you soon!


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