How Do You Measure a Life?

Do you measure a life in pounds and ounces like it’s a lump of rump? 4 pounds of aged rump attracts quite a price, why shouldn’t the same apply to your tushie?

Do you measure it in feet and inches like Tom Cruise might when he installs a new kitchen? You know, he does all his own stunts but still can’t reach the sugary snacks…

Or maybe you measure it by the weight of accumulated objects at the end of things. The person with the most stuff wins! Surely a photo-finish between Paris Hilton and the Kardashians?

What about happiness, where does that fit? What if life was measured by how happy you are or how many happy moments you’ve had? Surely that’s a decent indicator of size or scale; the more time you’ve spent being happy has gotta be a good thing, right?

Only, people like Bashar al-Assad and Anders Breivik sure have spent a good amount of time with a smile on their face, and I don’t think you’d want to ask either of them round to your place for drinks.

Hm. So, what about the happiness that you create?

Oh, now we’re getting somewhere

If you can create happiness rather than consume it, surely you’re doing some brilliant work and should get some kind of medal for being a lovely person. Right? Right? Isn’t that right?

Well, I think that happiness is an individuals’ response to a moment in time.

It’s simply a choice you make about where you are and what’s going on for you, and in that way I don’t think you can necessarily depend on creating happiness for someone else any more than you can create their ear wax for them. It’s down to them.

Okay, so weight, length, quantity and happiness are out. What does that leave?

Actually, I think that’s the perfect question to ask yourself – what do you leave?

What are you leaving behind you as you go through your day? What will be left behind you at the end of this year?

In “It’s A Wonderful Life“, George Bailey got to see what would happen if he was removed from the world; he got to see how things would turn out differently if he hadn’t been around to do all the things he’d done.

Things didn’t look so good in Bedford Falls without George, but it doesn’t have to be a Clarence-induced shift in the cosmos for you to have a legacy. Pretty much everything you do has an impact.

Step out of a hot bath and the level of water in the tub lowers. Climb out of bed in the morning and you leave behind an imprint in the pillow. Drink a glass of water and you leave some of yourself on the glass.

This is how you measure a life.

By the difference you make

Whether big or small, epochal or subtle, the difference you make as you go through your life has got to be the most important and valuable measure there is.

That’s why I want you to confidently embrace your potential for difference-making, for change-creating, for legacy-building.

Making a difference and building a legacy arrive at your door with second-guessing, fear, doubt and questions of worthiness in tow. Those things are part of the territory, which is why many people get stuck, lose faith and turn back. But, there’s something stronger on your side.

Something that makes all the difference in the world.

Confidence. It’s the quality that supports you through making your difference.

This kind of confidence isn’t something you need to build up to or even plan for.

You just have to stop measuring your life by the wrong things, and start exploring.

What do you think? How would it be to explore your difference with confidence?


  1. It would certain save a lot of time – the time wasted second guessing and doubting. Just for a start ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Not that my two cents necessarily mean anything, but I just want you to know that I think the quality of your posts (both structure and messaging) are wonderful lately. Impactful. Thought-provoking. Not that they aren’t always those things, but you seem to be digging deeper lately, or in a different direction or something, and with a new tone. Or, maybe it’s just me, hearing you differently ๐Ÿ™‚

    How WOULD it be to explore my difference with confidence? If I only knew how to do that. I unfortunately spend inordinate amounts of time thinking I could vanish and people would barely notice.

    Sounds like I’ve got some work to do……

  3. Hi Steve. This post prompted me to add to my “I am” statements: I am a pebble in someone’s pond. Thanks for the provocation to articulate that.

    I am working on my book and have contracted with a publisher/marketing company.

    Best, Michael

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