I love this quote. I think about this quote often, particularly when assessing where I'm at in life and where I want to go.
I remember returning home from the Peace Corps and promising myself I wouldn't go back to the lifestyle I led before my departure. I wouldn't focus on things. I wouldn't care about money. I wouldn't valet park at Nordstrom.
I can say I don't valet park at Nordstrom, but the other stuff? I fall into the trap of things and money all too often. I focus a lot of my time and energy on the outward trappings of success (weight loss, cute clothes, nice furniture, a new car) more than I'd care to admit. I have a thousand little ways I justify these choices, but it really just comes down to letting myself get swept up in a culture of consumerism and worshiping values I haven't even defined or set for myself.
When I take a good hard look at what my values are and how I live my life, there is sometimes a disconnect that is hard to reconcile. I say I value people, but I then resent spending time with them. I say I value experiences over things, but then I buy more things and have fewer experiences. I say I want to be successful, but then I don't clearly define what success means to me, thus opening the door for society's answer to walk right on through.
When Einstein says we should become a person of value, what does that mean?
For me, it means developing and cultivating my interests/passions/skills so that in some way I can give back to society.
If I skipped success as society defines it now, and if I focused on being/becoming a person of value, how then would my life and behavior change?
It's a big, complex, though-provoking question. But man....it's a good one.
How would you change your life and/or behavior if you focused on being a person of value rather than 'success?'