I’ve said that we may not know the true impact any given individual has had on the world until they die and we read their journal, or we hear people talk about them at their funeral.
Sometimes it is just hard to judge a person’s impact until you’ve got more perspective. For example, one of your Facebook friends might rant on and on about how dangerous cigarettes are. They might make a new post every day. To you, they are just an over-zealous fanatic who comes off as a bit annoying. To a former smoker, they probably aren’t zealous enough. It all depends on perspective. What if they die and you hear people talk at their funeral about how this individual’s ranting actually helped others to either never start smoking, or to find the motivation to finally quit. Would that change your perspective?
I am convinced that the effectiveness of a person’s mission to make a positive difference in the world is directly correlated to the level of perspective the individual gives others. What I mean by that is the “audience” needs to understand the person. People need to see where he/she is coming from. Constant ranting about the dangers of debt has little sway until you say that you were buried in debt for 20 years and eventually had to file for bankruptcy, which effectually ended your marriage and ruined your life. The moment you open up on that level you become real. You become human. You give your audience the gift of perspective.
I’m not saying that it is easy. It probably isn’t even safe. People exist who would take advantage of you because of your poor decisions or mistakes. The question to ask yourself is whether or not you care about what other people think. Will opening your experience up for others to access help or hurt your mission? If it will help your mission, maybe you should consider doing it.
The danger comes from portraying that bad decisions are acceptable. Obviously that would be contrary to the point. If they were acceptable, then it wouldn’t matter if we just kept on making them, would it? If they were acceptable, they wouldn’t be compelling. They wouldn’t have produced the discomfort and sorrow in your own life to make you as zealous as you are in the first place. So never portray bad decisions as acceptable.
Bad choices are not what we like about people. We like their humanity. We like that they carry on despite their bad decisions. We like improvement and progression. So don’t communicate that bad decisions are good. Instead, communicate the idea of progression. We are all imperfect and are striving to become something/someone better than we currently are. Bad decisions happen, but they should never be acceptable to us. They should be viewed with perspective. The perspective is that we make decisions (some of them bad), and we learn from them. We then change and progress along our journey to become something better.
So it is imperative that we communicate in a way that provides perspective, but we also need to communicate in a way that inspires people to actually improve themselves from a lesser state of being to a better, more capable, more willing, more successful state of being.
The Way Forward
This is the direction this blog is going to take. It will be more compelling, more human, with more perspective.
Self-reliance is now and has always been the overarching theme. It will continue to be so. But I want to do a better of job relating to you why I feel so passionate about the topic. Why does it even matter? Why do I think that it should matter to you, the reader? That is what I want you to know, to feel, to really understand. That is the way forward.