Monday, October 09, 2006

Curious about Significance: Do You Know and Understand What Holds Significance for You?

What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!” - H. P. Lovecraft

“Significance” - what a loaded and important word and concept! Why do I make this statement?

I think what led me to being curious about significance is that I am starting to participate in two new programs for me - one about marketing and the other a transitional goal setting game. As it is, I always seem to be overloaded with projects. So adding two more endeavors to my weeks will be a challenge, but will provide a driving force to examine my priorities. I have to determine what actions hold the greatest significance for me and my progress.

As I thought more about this, I realized that I already practice this sorting in a plethora of ways. I receive many e-mails and e-newsletters. For each one, I distill the main thoughts and messages down to the idea(s) with the most significance. I have also learned to do this with magazines, books, teleseminars, presentations and meetings. I also realize that I need to do this with my writing, speaking, training, storytelling and marketing.

I believe that the more succinct we can be with ourselves when we are stating our purpose, our mission, our values, our intentions and our goals, the more significance our lives and work will hold.

This week, I found some differing quotations that, I feel, will get you thinking and, hopefully, spur you on to decide what holds significance for you:
  • Progress is measured by richness and intensity of experience - by a wider and deeper apprehension of the significance and scope of human existence.” - Herbert Read
  • The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.” - Eudora Welty
  • Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.” - Michael Korda
  • But novels are never about what they are about; that is, there is always deeper, or more general, significance. The author may not be aware of this till she is pretty far along with it.” - Diane Johnson
  • I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” - Pablo Casals

And, then there are the quotations that are a bit more unusual:

  • For me, the number three seems to have a particular significance, relevant in some strange ways to the relation between man and nature.” - Erno Rubik
  • Full, saturated colors have an emotional significance I want to avoid.” - Lucian Freud
  • A modern building should derive its architectural significance solely from the vigor and consequence of its own organic proportions. It must be true to itself, logically transparent, and virginal of lies or trivialities.” - Walter Gropius
  • If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” - Laurence J. Peter
  • Even if you wanted to be a hermit, people come out looking for you. I don't want to cloister myself away, but it is important for me to write about issues that have universal significance. One of them that has resonated with me all my life has been the theme of injustice.” - Iris Chang
  • Just as we could have rode into the sunset, along came the Internet, and it tripled the significance of the PC.” - Andy Grove
  • I believe every era has its significance and the same holds true for players and coaches.” - Sachin Tendulkar

Ask yourself what holds significance for you? What messages and parts of your life and work are significant to you and others? I believe that we are all significant and that we can pursue significance for ourselves and everyone who is affected by us.

Life would be stunted and narrow if we could feel no significance in the world around us beyond that which can be weighed and measured with the tools of the physicist or described by the metrical symbols of the mathematician.” - Arthur Eddington