You have more value than you realize

There has been something circulating on social media for decades that is falsely attributed to Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip.

The information is purported to be the cartoonist’s philosophy on life. Although the Charles M. Schultz Museum denied it was created by him, the information in it is timeless. I wish I could credit the original author in some way.

It was presented as questions for people to ponder. If you are struggling to identify a purpose for your life, this will help. Start by answering these questions:

  • Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  • Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  • Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  • Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  • Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  • Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

The point of the questions is designed to stump you. Few people can remember the headliners of years gone by. They were the greatest achievers in their time. Everyone was talking about them. Yet, after the applause died, the awards they received started to tarnish and they faded from memory.

Today, their names may come up in conversations, but only as questions, “Who was that guy who caught that overtime pass to win the Packers playoff game in the freezing cold a few years ago?”

However to put the world’s best achievers and influencers in proper perspective, now answer these questions:

  • List the teachers who aided your journey through school and life.
  • Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time.
  • Name five people who taught you something worthwhile.
  • Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  • Think of five people with whom you enjoy spending time.
  • Who believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself?
  • Who gets credit for leading you to Jesus?

That puts fame and influence in a much different perspective because it’s very personal. The famous people who made all the headlines for years truly didn’t change your life or influence it even one iota.

When you think about it, social media “influencers” haven’t really influenced anyone to do anything of significance other than spend money on over-priced products.

The people having true and lasting influence in your life are usually the ones nobody talks about, yet you can often pick up the phone and chat with them at any time — or could, when they were alive. Talk about legacy!

One of the women I interviewed recently, Sarah Geringer, told about her 85-year-old grandmother who was home-bound and needed people to drive her to appointments. Yet, the woman is on the phone every day talking to other widows and praying for them.

It is super-easy for older people to be forgotten and neglected. However, Sarah’s grandmother saw a way to impact the lives of others by bridging that loneliness gap. Skills required to do the job? None. Money needed to have those conversations? None.

Betty Mills changes the lives of teenagers by inviting them to her house for snacks while they assemble a puzzle. I can only imagine the life advice and wisdom that is imparted while they create a picture that will be admired for a few days or captured in a photograph before it is put back in the box.

Your life purpose doesn’t have to be grand. But, your life can still have an impact that will long outlive the time you spend on earth.

Create a list of people who influenced your life for the better. Then, if you still can, send them a note or pick up the phone and let them know how much you appreciated what they did for you.

Then set out to be that person of influence in someone else’s life. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. It only takes time. People over 50 often have more time on their hands, so put it to good use. Make the call and make a difference. Both of you will be glad you did.