We all have our famous heroes that serve as models of what we dream of becoming. That’s all well and good, but it can tend to make us into passive observers, rather than active contributors.
I might hold up Nelson Mandela as a personal role model, but I don’t really have the opportunity to make the kind of contribution to the world that he has. My situation is much more modest.
What I have to recognize is that it’s quite OK to affect the lives of ten people rather than ten million.
When I scope it down to ten people, then I realize that each individual relationship I have, each specific person, is a highly valuable contribution of my life. It gives me purpose, it means that I have some work to do in my lifetime. When I can help another individual, I have made a step on fulfilling my purpose.
If I extend this line of thinking, let’s imagine that I am able to improve just one relationship in my life, to help one person. Even this might be a useful and valuable life.
I find it extremely helpful to decide to whom I want to make a difference – specific people, and more general groups – and what I want to do which will give value in their lives. In the business world this would be called defining your customer and your value proposition, but it’s just as important for your personal life.
The neat thing is that you get to decide how this balance shifts over time. At various times you might put more energy into your family, your work colleagues, to charitable causes – you get to decide.
But the point is to make an ACTUAL DIFFERENCE to those people in your life. That helps give you a rich sense of purpose, a reason to do the hard work.
You don’t want to be just a passive observer in your life.
by Carl Dierschow