Every society has its own standards for what is seen as a significant contribution to the world.
These change over time. Some may be valid, some not.
If you are an original thinker–a pioneer–society may not even recognize your area of work, much less your contribution. You may labor in obscurity, if not disdain.
But the world is more in need of leaders than followers.
So having your own standard of significance, not subject to social pressure, is essential.
You will develop your standard in accordance with your own beliefs and values.
As you evaluate the contributions of others, you will form criteria for evaluating your own.
Trusted people who share your values will support and strengthen you and your efforts.
Their perceptions of your evolving work will be worth considering, but they are not your judge.
You will know when you have produced work of lasting value.
You will know when you have made a significant contribution to the world, whether the world recognizes it or not.
Remember: we have never heard of most of the creative and original men and women who gave us all they had.
But we have benefited immensely from their gifts and their devotion.
It is far worse not to give your gifts than for your gifts to be unrecognized.
Be fulfilled in the giving of your gifts.
Let knowing that you have met the need for your gifts be your recognition.