The Measure of a Man (or person)
By Brian Dean

How does one measure one’s self? What makes one successful? Is it money, fame? How will we be remembered? Will it be that kind person that all will miss, or that SOB that everyone is now glad they are gone? I guess the real question is... what marks have we left behind?

We all ponder our significance, and in comparison to the universe, we are tiny. In comparison to the planet, we are tiny. Sometimes in comparison to our surroundings, we seem very small indeed. But what affect do we really have on others?

Some may measure themselves by their standing in the community, others by their office. But the measure of a person is really how many people they touch and how much better those people are, even for just a moment. And sometimes a moment is all that matters. Did you make someone smile or laugh today?

There was something I read about pondering our insignificance. And it said that no matter how insignificant you feel, you have affected people, and you truly don’t know how much. Who thought of you while drinking their coffee this morning? Or who remembered something about you when hearing a certain song on the radio? Or did someone chuckle when they remembered a joke you told. And did they pass that on to others? Or do they feel better about themselves because you gave them a compliment?

As a healer, I know that I affect many people. Their attitude changes as they are removed from pain. They are calmer now that certain stresses are made to look less significant. I do the same thing as a teacher. I help people see other possibilities than they have been taught through normal schooling or “normal” life. I open them to new thought processes, new ways to look at things. I do the same thing with articles like this. Hopefully, I give people something new to think about. In these ways, I make changes in others, I affect them in what I hope are positive ways. And this is a measure of success, helping people, one little bit at a time.

But the same can be done by simple things, like smiling at the cashier when buying something. Maybe they have been having a busy day, and for that brief moment, you told them that they were appreciated. Maybe that positive energy you passed them only travels through to the next customer or two. But they were affected, and there was a change.

We are a society of people that tend to keep to themselves. We spend our time with our heads down, maybe looking at our phones. It takes effort to reach out and make eye contact, or give a knowing look, maybe offer a smile. That leaves marks on people, and passes positive energy. In this way, you can change someone, maybe not in the way that a teacher or healer can, but you do affect change. And in doing that, you improve their life, even if it is for a short period of time.