When I meet people for the first time, as soon as the introductions are out of the way, I ask them to share their story — to tell me who they are and where they’re from, where they’ve been and where they’re going. I want to understand what matters to them. Maybe you do the same. The telling of our stories becomes an emotional connecting point for us. It bridges the gap between us.
Why is that?
Everyone loves a good story—we always have. Stories tell us who we are. They in-spire us, connect with us, animate our reasoning process, give us permission to act, fire our emotions and give us pictures of who we aspire to be.
Stories are us.
Every day, millions of people watch movies, read novels and search the Internet for stories that inspire them or make them laugh. Every day, we listen to our friends tell us about the dramatic or funny things that happen to them. Every day, people take out their smartphones to show pictures and share stories. Stories are how we relate to others, learn and remember.
So I’ll ask you again: What’s your story?
I want you to think about your story so far. What kind of story is it? We all have a bit of humor in our stories, as well as some drama. We all have our ups and downs, wins and losses. There’s a bit of comedy, tragedy and history in all of us. But overall, each of our lives tells a larger story. What do you want yours to say?
I believe that no matter what “plot” our story may follow, deep down, we all want one thing: We want our life to matter. We want our story to be one of significance. No-body wants to feel like the world wouldn’t miss him if he’d never lived.
Are you with me? Have you thought about what you want your life story to be? Do you believe you can live a life of significance, that you can do things that really matter? Can you make your story great?
With all my heart, I believe the answer to these questions is yes. You have it within your power to make your life a great story, one of significance. Every person can. Regardless of nationality, opportunity, ethnicity or capacity, each of us can live lives of significance. We can do things that matter and that can make the world a better place. I hope you believe that.
Don’t let the word “significance” intimidate you. Don’t let it stop you from pursuing a life that matters. When I talk about significance, I’m not talking about being famous. I’m not talking about getting rich. I’m not talking about being a huge celebrity or winning a Nobel Prize or becoming the president of the United States.
There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but you don’t have to accomplish any of them to be significant. To be significant, all you have to do is make a difference with others wherever you are, with whatever you have, day by day.
So what’s the secret of filling the pages of your life? What’s the key to a life that matters?
Living each day with intentionality.
When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do. You can transform yourself, your fam-ily, your community and your nation. When enough people do that, they can change the world. When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters.