The People Who Matter Most

Have you ever wondered as you go through life and get to know thousands of people across your “live, work, and play” environments, how many of these characters really matter to you eventually? And in the hectic world we live in these days, it is even more difficult to keep up with the who’s who? With the exponential growth of digital and the intrusive dominance of social media, the question I would really like to ask Lady Gaga is “How many of your 39 million Facebook fans are really your friends, and how many of these friends really mean something to you?”

One of my office colleagues recently sent me an email about the philosophy of Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schulz, an American cartoonist whose highly popular comic strip “Peanuts” proved to be one of the most influential in the history of the medium and is still widely reprinted on a daily basis.

In the course of illustrating his take on life, he was said to have posed these questions: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world; 2. Name the last five winners of Miss America; 3. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize; 4. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress; 5. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

I would presume that even if you are a true blue American, you’d probably be stumped for the answers. Charles Schulz goes on to make the point that “none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.”

He followed this through by proposing another quiz comprising five questions: 1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school; 2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time; 3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile; 4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special; 5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

I’m sure you must found these a lot easier to answer as compared to the earlier ones! The point that Charles wanted to make was that the people who make a difference in your life are not necessarily the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

The predominant content in many of my blog pieces has been about the reality checks I place upon my life through stories which my friends, colleagues, associates, even readers of My Paper, have shared with me over time. My role has been to amplify these so that the larger community out there can benefit from such anecdotes.

Charlie Brown from the “Peanuts” cartoon strip was quoted to say, “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” For this and many more pertinent quips, together with the soft spot and fondness I’ve always had for Snoopy, Woodstock, Linus and Lucy, thank you Charles for being a part of my life!

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