Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.


Success takes many shapes and forms. It comes with accolades, privileges, respect, admiration and opportunity. But it does not necessarily make a person of value. 

Being of value stems from a general sense of another category of existence. It is a recognition that you are part of something much larger than yourself. It comes with an understanding of that part of the larger picture. A tiny segment of something so large and so vast as to diminish any aspect of your own real self importance. 

To grasp how this works, it is helpful to see the world through a filter of encounters. If you were to diagram your weekly encounters with everyone you meet, speak with, communicate with or have a chance passing, you might be able to collectively view a much larger whole perspective.

Start by labeling every single communication, conversation, social media post or chance encounter as an equal point on your timeline for your week. Depending upon who you are, how you conduct your life, how active you are and how you communicate in business or social media, you see that your numerous points of connection can easily grow into hundreds, if not thousands, depending upon your social media footprint.

For each label you identify, you may then ask yourself if you left the recipients in either a higher, lower or neutral place than they were prior to encountering you. Were you smiling? Even on the phone calls? Even to the passersby on the street, supermarket or public places? You get the picture. By the time you have diagrammed everything, you can see that there is a math formula that correlates. +1 for the ones you left happier for the encounter with you, -1 for the ones who were in a lower emotional state for having dealt with you and 0 for the ones who were completely neutral.  With this formula, you might gain an insight as to whether your presence makes others better for encountering you.

This in and of itself does not warrant value, nor equate to the whole picture, but it is an interesting metric for sensing how your having walked the planet that week impacted those around you. Beyond your personality connections with others, comes the less tangible things that your week included. Depending upon your paid or volunteer work that you expended your energy on, did you create value to others for what you are spending your time on during that week? Some work is entirely self-serving, and other work is clearly benefitting society. It is not always recognized in the remuneration for that work. The sanitation engineer is paid less than a day trader. Without the sanitation engineer, our world populates with filth and garbage. Without the day trader, very little impact on society would be noticed. Another metric might be your general service to others, done without the face to face encounters. There are millions of people who are pushing papers, advocating on the behalf of people whom they will never meet, just because they know it is the right thing to do for humanity at large. This is seen in the aphorism… A wise older person plants a tree under whose shadow they will never sit.

Whatever metric you choose to gauge your value, you can extrapolate from all of the above, that in all circumstances, the equation exceeds the value you create for yourself and compounds quickly in the consideration of how many others are you helping in humanity by your having walked the Earth this week.

We are not all going to revolutionize Newton’s Laws of Physics, as Einstein did. We are not going to pave the road for space travel to other planets with a concept of space time. But each of us, in our own special way, have the privilege of communicating with others, knowing that our tone of voice and smile make all the difference. We know that our approach to others makes considerable impact on their well being and sense of self. We know that we are personally capable of putting out efforts that help our community, our city, state and nation. We know that we are all part of a larger body of humanity that can only survive if there is a general consensus amongst the specie to self-preserve and respect the world in which we live.

Being a success in life is a remarkable accomplishment, in whatever metric you choose to measure it. But being of value carries a far greater quality. One that takes daily effort to tend, nurture, improve and share.

Working on that quality in life not only improves the world for everyone you encounter, but it makes you considerably happier for the effort. Therein lies the value.

Happy Monday!

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share
Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!