"What we do with our lives does not determine whether we are a success or not. What determines whether we are a success is how we touch the lives of others."
This quote by Albert Schweitzer is one of my favorites. In two quick sentences he captures the essence of a successful life - connection with other people. What swirls around this quote is that the material things that many people think are the signals of success are just that - things - and in the end, what constitutes a person's legacy is found in their relationships - in their social capital!
Sociologists have studied social capital and the results are irrefutable. The connections in our lives are the corpus of our healthfulness, happiness, and even our longevity in this world. Through our relationships we learn, grow, develop, and succeed. We meet people who ultimately help us get jobs, homes, lifestyles and identities. These "social influences" shape our attitudes, behaviors, and assumptions about the world.
And it goes both ways. When we meet and engage with people we not only adjust, the persons we are with also adjusts. Sociologists call this "macro change" and it can be applied to most all major social movements throughout history. The acceptance of diversity is clearly linked to the social influences found in relationships, and there is no question that social capital is at the core of societal advancement.
So, who has been at the core of your success? If it is someone you still see, acknowledge them. If it is someone who has drifted from your life, take a moment to seek them out, and thank them. If it is someone who is gone from your life, take a moment to reflect on their memory.
Life moves fast, and it is moments that make life!