Who of us wants to leave this planet knowing you haven’t done a thing that matters, and haven’t affected anyone’s life? I doubt people like this exist. Today, let’s talk about how we can “matter.”
Right away, I’ll try to answer the question in the title, which made you click and read the article. I personally think you matter. And you don’t really matter, too. Why?
You matter because there is just one of you. You are the only person that has ever been or will ever be that has your background, your skills, your abilities and your potential. With what you’ve got, you can lead a life that will ultimately affect millions, if you make a valuable discovery or invent something useful for example, or your may affect a handful. Either way, your presence on this planet will be remembered.
If you choose to have kids, for example, you will leave behind a genealogical trace of humans who wouldn’t exist without you – each with their own unique gifts to offer and unlimited potential. If you dedicate your life to a career that is meaningful to you, your contribution will shape the future of an organisation. And whatever you choose to do, by interacting with the rest of us living in the same time, you leave a mark that won’t be forgotten. People will learn from you and your experiences, and you will be remembered long after you’re gone. That’s why you matter.
And that’s why we need to be mindful of what we do. We will be remembered by how we behave and what we do for others. Every decision we make will have far-reaching consequences, whether we like it or not. Have you watched The Butterfly Effect? Say you break someone’s heart because you are just not into them. If you are not delicate, that person may become resentful and hurt their next partner out of fear of being rejected again, and so the chain continues. With one less than thoughtful action we can create a ripple effect that may come back to haunt us. But the good news is that kind deeds build up, too! By a small sweet gesture, you can shift someone’s mood or even perception of the world. You can lead by good example, leaving a trace of kindness behind. Whichever way you choose, remember – you matter.
At the same time, you don’t matter, because everything you are contributing – other people’s lives, genealogical trees, companies and organisations – will be gone. Just like you, but maybe a few hundreds of years later. At that point, it won’t matter who became President, who was a farmer all their life and who wrote beautiful music. Our planet will evolve past us, and we can’t do anything about it but enjoy the ride while we’re here.
And this silly fact that nothing you can possibly do will stick, because all will come to an end at some point, can disempower you and steal all your motivation to strive for the better. Or, it can make you fearless. Why be afraid to reach for the unreachable stars, risking making a fool of yourself, when nothing you do really matters? You can try doing a million things, if you want to, or focus on getting good at one. You can spend a whole life building a conventional career, or invent a profession for yourself, or say “screw it!” and go travel the world on a minimal budget. When the stakes are so low, what have you got to lose? In the long run, you don’t matter, so why would you hold yourself back while you’re here, alive and breathing?
This paradox can best be described by the tree metaphor. It is by no means my own idea, but I can’t remember for the life of me where it’s from and who the author is. But here’s the gist of it – each one of us is but a small leaf on the tree of life. At the same time, with our enormous potential, we are a whole powerful tree in ourselves. We hold a whole world within, and we are still just a grain of sand to this world. We truly matter, but we really don’t.
Knowing this, we can shape our actions accordingly. For example, try to bring kindness to people every day and not to sweat the small stuff.
Enjoy your journey!
This post may be a bit corny, but the topic is still interesting, isn’t it? If you have your own thoughts to share on the matter, please leave a comment, I love hearing from you! And of course, your likes, shares and follows are very much appreciated ❤