SUMMARY: Nothing happens until it does. We are not until we are. In the interim, we do our best, make efforts, make mistakes, learn, grow, and somehow we make a difference. We make a unique difference that only our life could bring about.
You’re not…until you are.
Not what, exactly? Insert anything.
You are not a pubic speaker…until you are.
You are not a swimmer…until you are.
In the ellipses, there is effort. In the interim between NOT being something and BEING something, there is learning and growth.
When it comes to contributing to your family, neighborhood, city, state, country, or the world, you aren’t until you are. There has always been a search for meaning. We see this in all of antiquity, it is nothing new. And that should be encouraging!
Some common questions would appear to be: Why is there suffering? What is life’s purpose? People get lost between the question and the answer.
Social media and television programming has taught us that if we aren’t doing something on a grand viral scale, we are less than those that are doing it that way, and it’s simply untrue. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others, and do better what we do best. Social media and cinema are highlight reels of fiction anyhow. We don’t know that the person making a video of feeding thousands in the Saharan Desert is happy or feels that they have a fulfilling life, even if that’s the projection. They could end their days with silent tears into a pillow of loneliness. The cat-lady down the street may live an extraordinarily happy existence by helping the least of these.
It reminds me of a joke:
There was a butcher in a town who sold the most amazing rabbit burgers. Everyone loved the burgers but as business boomed, the townspeople became suspicious of the meat. How could the butcher find enough rabbits to meet the demand?
Finally, a businessman took him to court to flesh out the truth of the rabbit burgers. The businessman’s claim was that the burgers were indeed horse and not rabbit, and thus the butcher was profiting from false advertisement.
The judge asked the butcher, “Is this true?”
The butcher responded, “We do use some horse meat in our rabbit burgers.”
The judge was curious, “What is the ratio of rabbit to horse?”
The butcher answered, “50/50.”
The judge said, “That’s not so bad. Are you satisfied, businessman?”
The businessman sat there for a minute. The amount of rabbit burgers being sold would still need an astronomical amount of rabbits, “Your honor, can you ask him to clarify the ratio?”
The butcher nodded with all eyes on him, “It’s one rabbit to one horse.”
Clearly, not many people are eating rabbit/horse burgers, but we can wake up like the butcher and realize that we are presenting a fantasy. A fantasy meant to give us an illusionary competitive edge. Stretching ourselves unsustainably thin, presenting ourselves as something we are not, seeking goals that we have been spoon-fed rather than having emerged with us and the like can be our own version of a rabbit burger.
We are not Atlas, the world does not rest on our shoulders. Only Atlas was Atlas. What can do well is ours to do. What we can’t is for someone else. Let the contribution you are and will make speak for itself. Let others to do the same. The rabbit-burger approach is ill-conceived and destructive.
Your contribution to your family is just as valid as someone digging thousands of wells in Africa. Your work with your local non-profit is as meaningful as someone starting orphanages overseas. The idea that one is better than the other is a false narrative. What if no one was doing what you’re doing? If you’re doing nothing, this is your wake-up call. TBM can help you zero in your focus so you can do more authentic contributing less contrived appearing.