Intuitively, we all agree that life has an end. But one question that arises from this grim fact is, what will you be remembered for after death? The wise words of Nathan Schaeffer give us a clue: “The question will not be, how much have you got? But, how much have you given? Not, how much have you won? But, how much have you done? Not, how much have you saved, but, how much have you sacrificed? It will be, how much have you loved and served? Not, how much were you honoured?”
The part that strikes me most in Nathan Schaeffer’s submission is the concluding part, “How much have you loved and served? Not how much were you honoured. This means that the ultimate determinant of success in life is not how much wealth you have at your disposal, or how many educational achievements are in your curricula vitae, or the number of awards, titles and encomiums bestowed on you by others. The ultimate success is in loving, caring, helping and serving others.
In addition, it means at the end of our lives, it is not the number of children that we had that really counts but the number of people that were successful through us. It is not the millions we had in our bank accounts but the number of millions who were able to put food on their table through us. It is not the number of houses we built, but the number of those who were able to put a roof on themselves and their family directly or indirectly through us.
Sincerely, if we strongly believe that life has an end and our days on earth are numbered, then we would be careful and watchful what our report sheets and stories would be at the end of our lives. However, this story can either be good or bad. A large number of people have passed away, but it is a harsh fact that those who truly leave footprints in the sand of time and who impacted the world positively are so few, like a few athletes to tens of thousands of spectators.
There is a myriad of wealthy, influential, famous and successful individuals that are not remembered anymore after their death because they lived for themselves and not for others. For you to be remembered for a worthy cause in this beautiful yet challenging world, you must live for others.
A life is important based on the impacts it has on other lives. Those who are always remembered for living a worthy life are those who were focused. They are those who did not spend five years on one thing then another few years on another thing. They are those who invested many years, even decades, doing a single thing in various ways.
Great authors, innovators, presenters, politicians, freedom fighters, actors, religious leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists are those who spend their entire lifetime focusing on one aspect of life. They are individuals who set the standard so high, stretched the limits of norms, and raised the bar above people’s expectations and left indelible mark in their fields due to the power of concentration.
On a daily basis, I meet young people who aspire to be a blessing to the world. But their number one excuse is that they believe they are still a work-in -progress. They want to acquire enormous wealth, wisdom, fame or power before they can help others. But this shouldn’t be so.
The fact remains that you will always be a work-in-progress, if you are keen to make your short life worthy. Another bitter truth is that we are not guaranteed how long we will live on this earth. Therefore, you have to start helping others with what you currently have.
My organisation started a programme in 2011 tagged, “Help our youths the truth to know.” With the support and commitment of some of my friends, we were able to touch and inspire over 20,000 secondary and university students within two years. Although, my dream is to impact the world positively, I know that I have to start from my home, street, local government, state, country and continent, before being on the world stage.
In this quest, as a young Nigerian, I started using what I had to add value to other young Nigerians. You too can start making impact where you are with what you have. Oh yes, you have something you can use to add value to humanity. There are many ambitious young kids that need your experience, guidance, counselling, motivation, advice or little financial assistance to become somebody. Do this: Help them out.
Action plan: Be conscious of how you live your life. Be intentional in living a life of service to others. Focus on your focus until you become the focus in your career.
Affirmation: I live consciously. I am blessed and highly favoured.
PS: This month’s contribution was culled from the book, “Life Is Short But It’s Really Worth It” by Sesan Kareem. First published by United pc, United Kingdom in September 2013.