Build Social Capital by Helping OthersAs those of us in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving I wanted to take a moment to highlight the things that I believe are truly important in life; the things we should be thankful for.  As we enter the Holiday season it’s easy to get distracted by the flood of consumerism and advertising that inundate our senses. To combat that I wanted to share a poem I ran across written by Donna Maris. This poem really inspired me and I hope it will do the same for you.

Ready or not, some day my Life will end.
There will be no more sunrises, days, hours or minutes.
No more cell phones or calls and mail to be returned.
Every thing I will have collected, be it treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
My wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what I owned or what I was owed.
My grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So will my hopes, ambitions, plans, and To Do List: All will expire with me.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important to me, will fade away.
It won’t matter where I was born or what side of the tracks have I lived.
It won’t matter if I rented, or owned a house or lived on a boat.
It won’t matter whether I was clever, beautiful or brilliant.
My gender, skin color, ethnicity will be irrelevant.
So what WILL matter?
What will be the measure of my days, weeks and years passed?
How will my life be valued?
What will matter is not what I bought, but what I have chosen to build.
Not what I received, but what I have shared and given you.
What will matter is not the level of my success, but my significance.
What will matter is not what I learned, but what I have taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage and sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate from my example.
What will matter is not my competence, but my integrity and character; my true grit.
What will matter is not how many people I have known, rich or poor;
But how many will feel a lasting loss when I am gone.
What will matter are not my faded memories,
But the memories of those who knew and have loved me.
What will matter is how long I will be remembered, by whom, and for a
kaleidoscope of reasons, like a brilliant rainbow.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance.
It is one made of choice; one of my own choosing.

And in so doing, I dance and write my name with Destiny.
I CHOOSE to live a life that matters.

~ Donna Maris

I like this poem.  It emphasizes the things that really matter in life.  Building physical capital will not be a long lasting and fulfilling legacy.  What we need to be building is social/relationship capital.  Building social capital is what living a life that matters is all about.

How does one build social capital?  By personally investing in the people you meet.  Take a heart-felt interest in everyone that you interact with, be it in person or online or a stranger on the street.  Make an effort to build and nurture true friendships.  Help people when you can.  Sacrifice to make a difference.  Volunteer in your community.  Be an active participant in your life and the lives of those around you.

I’ve had the great privilege to meet some extraordinary people who are doing some incredible things.  People like Ivan Campuzano, Joel Runyon, Mark Powers, Sean Ogle, Lily Leung, Srinivas Rao, Wes Nations and so many more amazing people.  As an introvert I haven’t always been good at building social capital.  It does take a personal investment.  But it’s an investment that pays itself forward in so many good ways. Let’s build that social capital together and get out there and work together to make a real difference in the world.

Since we are expressing gratitude I’ll tell you what am I am thankful for.  I’m thankful for my family; my wife and two boys.  They are the best thing that has happened to me.  I’m thankful for all the incredible people I have met through this blog.  I’m thankful for those of you who invest a bit of yourself in reading what I write.  I’m truly grateful for your personal investment.  If you haven’t connected with me yet I’d love to hear from you.  Share your dreams and aspirations and how we can work together to make it happen.  I’m looking forward to connecting with you.

Are you choosing to live a life that matters?  Are you building social capital?  What are you thankful for today?

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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