Engaging, Participating, Interacting, Creating – Fulfillment, Leadership, Organization, Wisdom

Trading a Successful Life for An Epic Life

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 26, 2009

One of my favorite quotes is from Tom Brokaw. He was once quoted as saying, “It’s easy to make money, it’s a lot harder to make a difference.” From the inspiration of this quote I have developed the following saying, “It’s easy to live a successful life, it’s a lot harder to live an epic life.” For those of you who are frequent readers of my blog, you already know that epic means engaging, participating, interacting and creating. Living an epic life means trading off a mediocre life for an excellent life. Jim Collins refers to this as moving from Good to Great. Someone might criticize me and say, “Man, I have many riches and possessions. Do you call my life mediocre?” Yes. I still say mediocre if you are not engaged, participating, interacting and creating some value in society. And remember criticism that’s negative doesn’t contribute to the flow of goodness. 

For successful people, life is a destination – the attainment of wealth. When you begin to live an epic life, you understand that life is a journey. Any journey has intersections and those who win are the ones who make good trade-offs at the intersections of life. Bob Buford once said, “None of us know when we will die, but all of us, if we wish, can select our own epitaph”. We select our own epitaph based on the kind of life we live. Are you living an epic life? Are you pursuing a better life? If not, here are ten trade-offs worth making that can qualitatively improve your life and a question after each to prompt your decision-making. 

1. Affirmation for accomplishment – Are you going to be one of the boys and get the affirmation of mediocrity or will you step out of the herd and blaze a trail of accomplishment? 

2. Financial gain for future potential – Will you be enticed by the promises of wealth or will you live for an epic life based on your true capacity? 

3. Immediate pleasure for personal growth – Are you tempted by the life of ease and play now, or are you motivated by the desire for living your best life possible? 

4. Security for significance – Do you want to live a comfortable life of comfort and convenience or will you soar towards a better life in which you make an even greater difference in society? 

5. Acceptance for excellence – Are you going to settle for the acceptance of your peers and friends or will you aim for the excellence that comes from the pursuit of a cause that is greater than your personal dreams? 

6. Addition for multiplication – Are you satisfied with adding value to your community or will you go for the more rewarding joy of multiplying value to the world? 

7. Many things for one thing – Will you be a jack of all trades and master of none or will you stand out from the pack and be a master of one thing? 

8. Quantity for quality – Are you going to fill up your life with things and events or will you go for the right things and events? 

9. Stability for success – Is your prime desire to have a stable life or are you willing to tap into the joy of adding ? 

10. Work for family – Are you laboring at your work at the expense of your family or are you creating a legacy for those whom you love and society in general? 

Only through the wise use of trade-offs can we truly live an epic life.


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