4 Steps to Significance

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Quick Takes:

  • To build a significant life, we have to follow a 4 step process:
  • Mindset Shift, Self Improvement, Success, Significance
  • Only by completing each step will we have the skills and knowledge to progress to the next
  • At the end of the day, it's this 4 step process that creates significance

What a journey. Am I right? Our path to passion, purpose, and success is long, and can be defined by one word: significance. Whether we are hyper-motivated or feel like we lack motivation, our happiness comes down to the significance we feel. It can come from being a nurturing parent, a loving partner, a social activist, or a business owner, but significance is the one thing we all strive for.

Funny enough, although we are in a common search for significance, each one of us will attain it in a unique way. It’s an ongoing process that only comes to fruition when we intentionally follow our own path. John Lee Dumas refers to this journey as a personal movement from “success to significance.”

By following the flow from success to significance, we have the opportunity to find passion and happiness in life, but to me, we need to start further back. For those of us currently on our own journey, we follow a movement of:

Mindset Shift -> Self Improvement -> Success -> Significance



We can’t skip mindset shifts and self improvement and go right to success. There is always something that came before success - even for seemingly overnight successes. But if we focus on each one of these steps, and become intentional about maximizing the value and enjoying the moment, significance will be a foregone conclusion:

1. Mindset Shift

freebookEvery path to significance begins here. It’s the origin of all higher callings. We’ve been taught since childhood to dress a certain way, act a certain way, and ultimately, think a certain way. This societal groupthink causes us to walk through life in a haze, following a predefined script.

Then something happens. And it’s unique to each of us. Whether it’s an acute experience or a gradual realization, there comes a point in your life when you look at the way you’ve been living and ask: “why?”

You realize that you’ve been living by someone else’s rules, trying to find happiness by following a path you don’t want to be on. This realization, or mindset shift, is the first step to finding your significance. It’s an understanding that you live a life by your design, and designing a life of success and significance is up to you alone.

In essence, your mindset shift is your decision to become successful by your own definition.

2. Self Improvement

Once that mindset shift happens, there’s no going back. It’s like taking the proverbial red pill. You see the world from a perspective you never new existed. Your life and your reality become a moldable foundation of which you have complete control.

Because of this newfound control, self improvement almost becomes an obsession. It becomes clear that you should use your time wisely and equip yourself with the tools needed to build a life of success.

Improvement, like success and significance, is a journey unique to everyone. For me, I found passion in improving my social interactions. I knew I needed to get better at connecting, networking, and ultimately, stepping outside my comfort zone.

Once you find a specific - or niche - passion to improve, however, you realize how many self development avenues there are, and that each one is interconnected. Health, fitness, or any other interest can be improved upon to give you the necessary skills needed to be successful. Eating healthier, for example, will benefit your brain function, which will allow you to read more, which will give you real world ideas to implement, which will improve your ability to talk and connect with people.

Self improvement never ends, but once you master enough niche verticals within the self development space to give yourself a full toolbox, you’ll realize that you’re ready for success.

3. Success

images2What is success really? Again, common theme here, but it’s unique to everyone. For me, success is meaningful entrepreneurship, but clearly we can’t use that definition alone. Success can be defined as: any function, duty, or endeavor, in which you actively apply your skills to derive happiness. 

Let me say it differently: Success = Happiness. And more: Success = Active Happiness.

It’s the happiness gained from the act of taking everything you have learned during the mindset shift and self improvement phase and applying it in the real world. It’s knowing that you’ve given yourself all the positive content, right mentors, and technical learning needed to realize actual results.

In fact, the attainment and application of specific self improvement verticals can actually be success itself. But just like how self improvement is ongoing, success will always be a moving target. The more you use your improvement to attain success, your ceiling for success increases, giving you more room to learn and grow.

4. Significance

Significance is the capstone of life. The upper echelon everyone should strive for. The hard truth, however, is that significance is rarely attained, by anyone. We often never make it this far into the process. Think of it this way:

Just like we need to plan for food, clothing, and shelter before we can think about anything else, so too must we achieve a mindset shift, continuous self improvement, and ultimate success before we can realize lasting significance. But once you find happiness through success, all of your needs up to significance will be met.

You've already had the mindset shift that significance is possible, you have the right personal toolkit to attain significance, and have achieved a level of success that tells you significance is tangibly possible. At this point, the only direction to go is up.

If success is achieved through happiness, it’s only natural that you’ll want to spread that happiness around.

Using your mindset shift, self improvement, and success to nudge people down their own path gives your life true significance. It’s channeling everything you’ve learned up to this point to help someone, anyone, achieve their own unique passion and purpose.

To me, true significance will be gained when I have enough impact to spark someone else’s mindset shift. Clearly, I’m still working toward it, but I also know that it will happen.

So, you see, it’s impossible to achieve significance without the preceding three steps. But it’s also impossible not to achieve significance if you follow this path.


The best part about it all? Why would you even want to skip any of these steps of growth? By passing through each one, you gain more experience, knowledge, and understanding of yourself and those around you. If nothing else, use that to propel you toward a life of significance.

So, where are you on this path?

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