We are all created for significance, but the manner we choose to seek significance is what matters. Many have chosen to seek it in the wrong places, thus creating a distraction to them. According to the dictionary, “significant” simply means something that is important in effect or meaning. And man was created to have important effect and give meaning to his environment. “Significance” is the quality of being significant. Feeling significant is natural, man is not supposed to apologise for such feeling.
Man was never created a failure. In fact, when God wanted to create man, He never said He wanted to create ethic and religious diversities, but He created man. And He created man with significance and ability to do exploits. But the cutting edge for dominion was lost from the dawn of creation and since then the issue of significance has become a challenge for many. In a bid to satisfy this feeling of significance, some men have joined various clubs, secret cults, and other different groups just to find expression for that inner feeling.
Leadership goes beyond seeking personal significance. A leader in every sphere should ensure the creation of strategies, systems and methods for achieving excellence, stimulating innovation and building knowledge and capabilities. The value and strategies should help guide all activities and decisions of an organisation or a group which he leads. Kenneth Blanchard is of the view that “The key to successful leadership today is influence and not authority”.
Most men in leadership, while seeking significance, have become autocratic. They go as far as trying to force their way in most situations. In their homes and offices, they are the “Alpha and Omega”, their decisions are final even when they are wrong. And when their spouses or employees try to kick against their views, they remind them of their position by saying words like “I am the head of this house”, “I am the boss here.” When leadership begins to place emphasis on position instead of service, then there is a problem.
The challenge of seeking significance has converted most men from democratic and people development style of leadership to autocratic style, and despite that, the inner yearning for significance is yet to be satisfied. The motive for significance should be for service and not for selfish interest. The fact remains that the purpose of a thing must be known, because if it is not known, then misuse is inevitable.
The Good Book says, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
In trying to satisfy that inner yearning for significance, many people amass wealth for themselves through the wrong channels. They forget that the “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” For every challenge that man has faced, there has been a way of escape. Having highlighted the wrong motives why men seek for significance, here are simple steps to solve the problem of significance:
1. Check your motive to know why you seek significance.
2. Know that there is a place of significance for everyone, and that place can only be found in the course of service.
3. Significance is about service and people: when you are committed to the cause of serving others, you will find your place of influence and significance simply because you’re interested in serving others.
4. Significance comes with a commitment to God and the expansion of His kingdom here on earth.
I conclude with one of the sayings of Rick Warren, who wrote the book “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?” He said “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.”