To feel significance, you must be fearless in the pursuit of what matters most to you.
While reading Tony Robbins’ book, MONEY Master The Game he talked about the six needs of human beings: certainty, variety, significance, connection/love, growth, and contribution. I’ll let you explore the other five, but today I want to focus on significance.
It’s in our DNA to crave significance
It’s an innate trait of human beings. We yearn for the feeling of acceptance and importance.
What happens when we post something on Facebook? We watch the likes and comments add up, and with each one, we feel more significant. Share something interesting or witty on Twitter? We secretly hope for RTs and likes galore. If you get tons of emails every day, you must be significant! It seems nearly 100% of the Internet was built around encouraging our need to feel valued and validated.
Tony Robbins asks a great question on this:
“What’s the root of each our different cravings for significance?”
I’ll start with myself: I was often the new kid in school and never felt like I fit in. When I started my first business (IWearYourShirt) it was—at its core—a way for me to fill that void of acceptance. If my business got popular, then I would be popular, and therefore significant!
The only problem? I wasn’t addressing the main issue of my lack of feeling accepted.
Even though I was able to grow a following, gain notoriety in the media, and make money with my business, that original void still existed. If anything, obtaining success just put a glossy new finish over the top of a rusty old problem.
Without actually addressing my desire to feel like I fit in, no amount of followers, likes, or money would ever make me feel significant.
How Did I Overcome My Significance Issues And How Can You?
One of THE best things I’ve ever done for personal validation has been writing. Whether it’s an article like this, a journal entry no one’s ever seen, or an entire book, sharing my thoughts and opening up about the ideas swirling around in my head has healed my childhood wounds.
So… should you write a book?
It may sound weird, but through the process of writing my first book, I was able to tackle some core personal issues (with the help of my authoring coach Lizzie and my wife Caroline).
There were stories from my childhood I was holding onto. There were feelings of failure I hadn’t shared before. Writing and becoming more vulnerable (read: not trying to always show my perfect self) helped me understand that I didn’t need any outside influences to prove to myself that I was significant. I just had to have an honest conversation with myself and let go of things from my past.
Unfortunately, the writing and sharing most of us normally partake in is through updates on social media or in emails. Yet, most of this writing is extremely reactionary and doesn’t include much introspection.
I don’t know about you, but I hate being introspective. It’s never easy and I often have to swallow my pride. But truthfully, writing about my personal issues was incredibly cathartic. There are plenty of things I didn’t include in the final manuscript of my book, but just writing them down and analyzing them helped me.
Developing a writing practice is the perfect place to start.
You don’t have to write any amount of words and you don’t even need to publish what you write. Just sit in the chair, type out your thoughts, and walk away. Then, come back tomorrow and do it again.
That exact process in 2013 is what led me to overcome some pretty big emotional hurdles (read: Feeling Lost). I wrote every day and sometimes published what I wrote. People started to read my imperfect writing and even validated my thoughts by praising me or asking for more. In 2014 I wrote my book. In 2016 I hit the milestone of 3,000,000 total words written. I’ve completely lost track of how many words I’ve written at this point, but I haven’t lost track of how impactful writing has been on feeling more significant (internally and externally).
Get to the root of the issue before changing your habits
I’m guessing you can relate to feeling that there’s more to life than your current routines (your job, your relationships, your friendships, your finances, etc). I felt the exact same way. I often times still do.
You could quit your job, but you’d probably just get another one that would leave you equally unfilled. You could end a relationship, but you’d probably rebound into another unsuccessful one. You could change so many aspects of your life, but if you don’t get to the root of the issue, you’ll never truly make progress.
I encourage you to sit down and really think about your life. Do you feel important? Do you feel valued? If not, then dive into your past and see what’s holding you back from feeling significant. Maybe start writing down the thoughts in your head or give yourself permission (without judgment) to see a therapist. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you if you want to invest in your mental health and talk to a professional.
Regardless of what you do, know this:
You matter. You are important. But if you don’t believe it for yourself, no amount of compliments or digital pats on the back will help you.
Take some time for yourself today. Be honest with yourself. Peel back a couple protective layers and work through your tough issues. What better time than right now?
You are significant and so am I.