A few years ago, I received one of those mass emails that particularly resonated with me – so much so that I used it for my holiday client letter that year. It consisted of a quiz posing two sets of questions that were interesting when considered together.
The first set of questions:
Who are the five wealthiest people in the world?
Who were the last five Heisman trophy winners?…the last five winners of the Miss America Pageant?…the last ten World Series teams?
Who were the last ten Academy Award Best Actors/Actresses?
Who were the last ten Nobel or Pulitzer Prize winners?
The second set of questions:
Who were the teachers who had the biggest positive impact on you?
Who are the friends who helped you through a difficult time?
Who are five people who taught you something worthwhile?
Who are five people you enjoy spending time with?…who make you feel appreciated and special?
Who are five heroes whose stories have inspired you?
The point is fairly obvious. While the medals and trophies, the awards and prizes are wonderful for the people who receive them, they are quickly forgotten by everyone else. The people who matter to us the most don’t matter to us because of their achievements or qualifications. They don’t matter to us because of how much money they have. They matter because something within them touches something within us. They are the ones who care about us, and whom we care about.
Chances are you can correctly answer at least some of the first set of questions, and that’s certainly fine. But if you can honestly answer the second set, you are blessed. And chances are you remember much more than names – even if it has been awhile since you thought about the people. You most likely remember situations, circumstances, and events that brought you together. Some of these people might be friends or family you see every day. Some of them may have come into your life only briefly. Perhaps you didn’t even understand the impact some of them would have on you until years later.
How many of your Top 100 memoiries involve people who had a positive influence on you? Why not start writing them down?