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Living For The Dot Or The Line?

Recently I was asked what seemed on the surface a very simple question: “Are you living for the dot or are you living for the line?” The inference was that the dot represents living for the here and now while the line represents long-term focus for legacy impact.

Granted, this isn’t a question that can be answered in a short blog, and the great philosophers have agonized over this question for millennia. Clearly there should be more to a fulfilling life of significance than mere immediate gratification—the kind of short-term gratification brought about through fame, fortune, power and pleasure.

It also makes sense that we should focus on our long-term contributions and legacy and impact. We should focus on activities that truly make a difference in the world. Such impact often is a result of values-based tenets embracing clear and meaningful purpose, a compelling vision and behaviors that create a common culture comprised of the values of respect, integrity, compassion, etc.

Actually I find the dot or line choice a bit confusing and challenging—My heart tells me I should be grateful and enjoy the moment. My head tells me that living for a purpose and enjoying each moment requires a keen sense of discernment between best and good.

Let’s face it, we tend to live each day acting like there’s always more time. We behave like there’s always one more minute available to us when actually every moment lived is one more moment used up, time irretrievably gone. And herein lies the importance of discerning best from good.

What will you do with your time? Will you discern best from good? Can you get the most out of the dot and amplify your legacy through the line?


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