Albert Einstein was one of the great physicists of all time. He gave us the theories of general and special relativity––all of which have been scientifically validated. He also gave us that famous yet simple equation, E=mc2.
Martin Luther King was known as the great American civil rights leader who changed a nation with his determination and skilled oratory. In fact, many consider his speech, “I have a dream”, the greatest of the 20th century.
Then there is Nalala Yousafzai, not exactly a household name. She has recently come to international exposure because she was a young lady who was shot at age 15 by the Taliban because of her campaign to fight on behalf of the right of girls to receive an education. She made an amazing recovery and continued her battle for the rights of young girls.
So what do these three people have in common? If you said that they were all Nobel Prize winners, you are correct. The prize, however, is a recognition that they have led lives of Significance. Significance gives our lives meaning. Many are searching for it and yet, so metimes it is staring them in the face.
We don’t have to be a Martin Luther King or an Einstein to be significant. If we look at the 7 areas of our lives: Spirituality, Mentality, Vocation, Financial, Physical, Family and Social, we may find where we have been very significant.
The parent that has been a mentor to a child or grandchild that has resulted in the child achieving greatness; that is a life-changing event and is worthy of acknowledgment. A health care practitioner, who because of taking care of a patient, has saved their life; that is significant. Adele and I as a medical doctor, and chiropractor have seen this at work so often, that we don’t doubt we have made a significant contribution to humanity.
So where in your life have you been or are you significant? We all have particular talents and abilities, as well as life journeys, that allow us all to make an impact in this world. Did you help out a friend and because of what you said, he or she was able to salvage their life? Did you mentor people and because of your commitment did it inspire others to succeed in their lives?
Sit down and scan through your life and see where you have been significant. If you still feel you haven’t been, then look at where you can still make a difference. Even if we are aged and don’t have the health we once had, we still have a mind that we can use and that is incredibly powerful.
If you are over 65, you probably remember when President John F Kennedy delivered a famous speech in 1961 before the US Congress in which he said, “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
So what has this got to do with you? The space program is a metaphor for our lives. In the early days—our 20s and 30s—we have a sense of purpose and drive to achieve. We launch our businesses, careers, products or inventions. If we are inspired with a sense of purpose, we create great things and leave an impact on the world around us. When we arrive at our 50s and 60s, the trajectory is often downward, and we start to implode.
You have a choice. You can recreate a new purpose so that your life takes off again like the giant Saturn V rocket, or you can live without a sense of purpose and your life can literally implode. When there is a vision and purpose, you can set a course to create action in the second half of your life. The key is to find that which inspires you.
Were you ever told that you did not have what it takes to succeed at school, or perhaps at a sport, or playing a musical instrument?
If you were in school in the 1950s and 60s, it was not uncommon to hear students receiving this sort of negative communication. There was no concern with upsetting a student’s self-esteem by criticizing their performance. Growing up in Canada I had to contend with ongoing criticism of my school performance.
In the Province of Ontario high school consisted of 13 grades––if you wanted to attend university. If you only completed grade 12, it was considered to be Junior Matriculation that allowed you to attend trade schools or to try your luck on the job market. The school that I attended was academically, a very tough school. Teachers were strict, and they did not put up with the antics that go on in the schools today. If you misbehaved, detentions were in order, and I certainly had my share. If you did not do your homework, there was hell to pay. I can remember a math teacher––Mr. Gates––who had me up in front of the class on a number of occasions, writing out my mathematical solutions on the blackboard in front of the class; merely because my homework was incomplete.
While I was a good student in primary school, in high school, I was challenged. As a teenager, my mind was occupied with girls and playing pool. I suppose my hormones were running rampant at the time. When I failed grade 12, my parents decided to take me to a psychologist to be assessed as to my abilities.
I can still remember her to this day. She put me through two days of testing to which was to determine my IQ and where my skills lay. I recall that I did not take the whole thing seriously. After the two days, my parents and I sat down to learn the results. The psychologist stated that based on the tests, I was not likely to pass grade 12 on the second try and even if I did, grade 13 would be a stretch. She said university was out of the question. My father immediately wanted me to sign up for a trade school, while my mother felt I could do much better; she had faith in me.
The outcome was that I passed grade 12 on the second try. I also managed to get a 61% average in grade 13 despite taking the most difficult subjects for which I garnered ten credits. I just managed to get accepted into university where I took a Bachelor of Science course majoring in zoology. With each year, my grades continued to rise. By my third year, I had a B average. I then went to chiropractic college that was a four-year course, and I got on the Dean’s list with an A average.
Looking back, I believe that something that psychologist said spurred me to take action. In today’s world that psychologist might not have a job because it seems we want to wrap students in cotton wool. We are to encourage everyone even if they are failing. I believe that there is a balance that falls between the two extremes.
I did prove that psychologist wrong and what I learned is, to never give up. If you have a vision or a goal do not give up on it whether you are 25 or 65. We can manifest greatness with both commitment and hard work.