Will You Be Missed? A New Metric For Success
Cue the Anna Kendrick song. But really, this is profound. I’ve noted this in this post entitled Living On Purpose and have recently come across the idea again upon reading this brilliant interview by Joe Lazaukus. How to tell if you’re doing work that matters? If you’re Seth Godin, it’s about being missed.
Too often we correlate success with wealth. It’s an easy and quantifiable metric to wrap our minds around, but it can be highly misguiding. First, success is a relative word and its measurement depends largely on your definition. Money might be the sole metric for some, but it’s not the metric humanity cares about. Instead, we use impactful to describe some of history’s most notable.
“Will you be missed?” is a wonderful question if you want to, as Steve Jobs would say, put a “dent” in the universe. The title of richest guy in the graveyard means nothing, really. Touching the most lives, on the other hand, is an entirely different way to evaluate what it means to live a successful life. People like Jim Henson, a personal hero of mine, come to mind. Relative to a Wall Street exec, he took home peanuts, but Jim’s work has touched the lives of so many, and continues to fuel the imaginations of children globally.
Missed is a better metric because it requires output. This is why it’s important to be a creator rather than a consumer. When you put new ideas and things into the world, you become a producer of value in the lives of others. Do this prolifically and you’re definitely going to be noticed. Most likely, missed dearly.
Life is short. We don’t like to think about it, and even when we do, we never really assume our turn will come. But it will. Friends and family will mourn our passing, but will the world? I heard recently, “if you want to be a billionaire, help a billion people.” Don’t just miss others, get out there and be a maker. Most importantly, make us miss you.