The quote was a little long for the title of this blog, but is reads like this:
“Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life”
Susan Davis, Psychologist
I was moved by this statement and thought it would be a great blog topic to expand upon in my own words. This is something I have thought about a lot lately, and I am trying to do more of. (the thinking part) I don’t know if it my milestone birthday coming up, a recent level of perspective reached, or what is driving it, but I am burning to make an impact with as many people as possible. It is reaching obsession-like proportion in my life, and I am thankful that I have already been graced with an outlet for it. The public speaking I am doing has felt very rewarding thus far, and the more I do, the more I want to do.
But enough about me, let’s talk about you for a bit. Are you living a life that has meaning and impact? Are you going through the motions and living for the weekend in your job? On weekends are you lying around watching football all day, Saturday and Sunday, and then of course Monday Night and Thursday night as well? Are you filling the void in your life with another mind-numbing activity just to not lose your own sanity? Is that the example you want to set for your family and friends? Here’s a real harsh question to ask yourself:
What is going to be said about you at your funeral?
If you were on your death bed today, would you look back at your life with pride, feeling like you got as much out of it as possible, and made an impact for many? Or would you feel like you missed out on a bunch and your pending death is going to go largely unnoticed?
Sometimes the biggest impact you can have is raising a child who ends up having an impact. That is just fine, and may be one of the most rewarding things there is as a human being. I cannot speak for this myself, as I do not have any kids of my own. To replace this, I have fulfilled some of that basic human need by coaching. It is the easy way out, and the most non-committal when it comes to scratching this biologically programmed itch. But I do the best I can with it, and have had (hopefully) a positive impact in my 13 years as a coach. Anything you do that leaves the world a better place is a win, for you and for all of us.
As I have stated many times before, I don’t think for most people that your day job is going to check all of the boxes, especially when it comes to things like personal fulfillment. Whatever your chosen way to give back is, you are likely going to have to give back OUTSIDE of your day job. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that the way to “have it all” is to have a day job that pays the bills and facilitates your pursuit of your passion. By approaching your life in this manner, you may find it much easier to give back in some way and have an impact. There is nothing more personally rewarding and fulfilling than helping others.
What you define as a meaningful life is up to you. You do not need to start a company and employ ten thousand people. You don’t have to build a hundred homes for Habitat for Humanity, or dig wells for the Pygmies in the Congo. You could teach a class at your church, be a Big Brother or Big Sister, or coach a soccer team. The beauty of life is there are tons of choices that you get to make, and ANYTHING you do is a step in the right direction. Your life will go by way faster than you think, and before long you will realize that, even if you are lucky enough to live to be 90, you have more days behind you than in front. That’s a scary proposition in general, but especially if you feel like you’ve done nothing to leave your mark during your time here on the planet.
Although I feel for the most part I have done a decent job so far, I am about to make some major changes in my life to allow far more reach and impact. It is a scary thought to make radical changes to a life that is very satisfying and happy, but there is no reason to believe that I can’t improve upon something that is already very good. I want more, and I am willing to risk who I am today for who I may become tomorrow. I hope you can see things in that same light at some point too.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.