What Life Is About

We become our best and truest selves by helping others. Indeed, a good yardstick for measuring success is how our life influences other people for the better.

Clayton Christensen, an author and Harvard business professor, has had remarkable professional successes, along with some serious health challenges. After all he has experienced, he has concluded, “The metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars, but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched. . . Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved,” he tells his students. “Worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.”1

That’s what life is about: helping others along the way. When we are concerned about the welfare of others, when we go about doing good, we touch lives that will never be quite the same.

Years ago, a man with heavy responsibilities sat weary in his office after a long day of dealing with a complicated issue. Just then, there was a knock at the door, and a good friend walked in. “I am on the way home,” he said, “[and] I thought of you and the problems that you are expected to solve.”

“I shall never forget it,” the man recalled later. “We talked together for awhile; we parted, he went home. My heart was lifted. I was weary no longer.”2

Such simple acts of kindness, repeated countless times daily, are the true substance of life.

Think of the people you most admire. Most likely it was not their accomplishments that touched your life but their acts of kindness, not their beauty but their big hearts, not their successes but their support. The same is true for all of us. What will be cherished is the difference we’ve made in others’ lives. What will be valued is the love and service we’ve offered. Remember, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble.” 3

1. In Jamshid Ghazi Askar, “Y. grad’s life advice goes viral on Web,” Deseret News, Aug. 12, 2010, A6.
2. John A. Widtsoe, in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 99.
3. Charles H. Spurgeon, John Ploughman’s Talk, or Plain Advice for Plain People (1896), 214.


Read this at work this morning and loved it.

Thank you over and over again to all of the people who constantly show me little kindnesses.

It means the world to me.

1 comment:

  1. that was amazing. thank you for posting it catherine.


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