“It is better to be known by six people for something you’re proud of than to be known by sixty million for something you’re not.” ~ Albert Lawrence Brooks …
Unfortunately, many of us grow up learning that more is better–that quantity somehow beats quality. How many individuals do we know who want to have all the songs they can in their music collection, or even all the exotic cars or fashion? Perhaps it is a result of our desire for fortune, fame, or power. Or maybe it is our fatalistic view of the world and our possessions; as if they indeed will someday disappear. Or perhaps it is simply a product of our pursuit for meaning and fulfillment in life. Yet in truth, more, very rarely means better.
When it comes to renown, the true value lies in what others know about us, not in how many individuals are familiar with us. There are multitudes of individuals who are considered the life of the party, who everyone loves to be around, but whom nobody would count on, share their heartfelt feelings with, or even trust with their possessions. There are even famous athletes, popular artists, and well-known actors that many parents would never allow near their children, because they know that these individuals are horrible role models when it comes to morals and values.
Our greatest ability to affect the world around us in a positive way resides in the quality of our interactions with one another. For most of us, our circles of influence are relatively small. Yet these individuals tend to know the best of us–our character, our love, our honesty, our integrity, our compassion, our helpfulness. They also know the worst of us–our dishonesty, our bitterness, our pride, our stubbornness, our selfishness. Therefore, if we truly hope to make any positive and lasting contributions in life, we must consider what contributions others know us for; we must focus on the quality of how we affect others instead of concerning ourselves with how many individuals know about our actions and our deeds.
Life is not about counting the numbers–it is about quality; it is about being proud of the life we are living and the acts and deeds we are accomplishing. And our ability to understand this truth directly affects our ability to enrich our lives and touch the lives of others deeply, and in much more positive ways.
Give the best of yourself to those closest to you.
Questions to consider:
What are some of the accomplishments that you are most proud of in your life?
How large is your circle of influence? Would you rather increase the size of that circle, or increase the effectiveness of your influence on it as it currently exists?
Is it possible to please everyone? What would that type of living be like?
For further thought:
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Robert Wooden