When something is “important”, we pretty much know it. It is “essential”. Is patently obvious. Immediately recognizable – urgent. By it’s very definition – something that has the potential to be a game changer.
Importance can reflect a pre-assigned value. Or, it may mirror our considered judgement. Whether it has some level of urgency assigned to it – or – we have assessed it as such, something of importance has rank and an elevated priority. It commands from us, a corresponding level of attention.
What of significance?
Very similar, by definition. Yet, certain distinctions remain. When it comes to something being significant, that can be a little more gray.
Significance may be something that is just as important – even essential. But perhaps it is just not as obvious. Well, at least for that particular moment.
Since it might not immediately stand out, something’s significance may not be assigned a value. It may not be deemed as necessary or judged to be crucial. It might pass us by, under the guise of being simply “noteworthy”. Its potential for importance can go unnoticed.
With the speed that life can travel these days, distractions can abound. The noteworthy can be misplaced. Potential is overlooked. Opportunity lost.
It might be that the moment is not ready for its true significance. Indeed, there is some truth to the notion that “timing is everything”. But more often than not, such moments are not ready simply because we are not ready for them.
We cannot understand their significance because we are “not there” yet.
Significance possesses certain elements of stealth. It can fly under our personal radar. Thoughts, words or deeds, with seemingly little or no value “now”, at this particular moment, may lay fallow, just under the surface, for many springs to come.
By themselves, each of these – thoughts, words or deeds – are but small fragments of significance. Their diminutive stature may lead you to believe that; “that is all there is”. In reality, they are representative of something much, much bigger. They have purpose.
As other seemingly insignificant, arbitrary and random thoughts, words or deeds begin accumulate, they bond together. They catalyze. Things begin to germinate and bloom. Something important starts to happen.
This can take time; weeks, months or years.
Maybe even decades.
Yet the passage of time does not dim their collective importance. Nor does it mute their influence. On the contrary, it simply underscores the importance of understanding the level of their significance now.
To get to that point – you cannot afford to miss those moments. They cannot pass you by, flying under the radar.
You need to learn to “be there” – now.
To put yourself in a position to understand their significance, you need to take great care in what you assign value to in your life. You may want to consider the standards you employ to measure and rank importance. You might look at a reassessment of how and where you focus your attention.
Not to suggest that you are self-centered, but are the things that currently have value to you primarily centered on your self?
If that is the case, what would happen if you shifted your perspective around a little? Rotated it a little out of phase Reconsidered, reassigned and reassessed what you value and looked at it this way: How do others value me?
The only way to truly know that – is to first and foremost – value them.
This is what ultimately reveals your true significance.
For the most part, we will always be able to determine what is important.
But only once we orient our perspective on how we value others in this fashion can we focus on the opportunities we have for significance.
Of being significant.
Of understanding its value.
And the responsibility that comes along with it.
Not to underestimate significance.