What is success? Today’s Western culture prefers to define success in terms of fame and fortune. People are considered successful when they earn lots of money and reach the highest levels of their chosen endeavors. Awards, bonuses, job titles, certificates, prizes and the corner office are treasured symbols reflecting success. Likewise, houses, cars, boats, and club memberships are the trophies of financial success. You might recall a once-popular bumper sticker that read, “The one with the most toys wins!”
I believe success in these terms falls short of something much better. Since it is difficult to change the current vernacular, let’s use a different word. How about significant, which to me is the result of living an unselfish life, putting others ahead of our quest for toys and accolades.
“You can have everything in life that you want,
if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar
Zig spent decades teaching us that there are benefits from dedicating our lives to serving others. At the same time, fame and fortune make lousy goals. A better target is significance. I suggest that a better name for it is Zignificance. I wonder how much better the world would be if more people shifted their focus away from success and toward Zignificance.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance –
and then even the small steps and little victories along your path
will take on greater meaning.”
— Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, September 2002