Alas, when we reach the summit of the highest peak, there’s a brief moment of exaltation, closely followed by a crushing dose of perspective in the form of a 360-degree reveal stretching miles in every direction of all the other mountains we’ve yet to climb. Then, reality dawns in form in our inevitable descent, during which time we get to ponder the next mountain we’ve identified to climb. Such is life – Such a gift.
We all know the old philosophical adage, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Perhaps another thing to ponder here is whether or not the vibrations were felt from afar? What would make the tree sadder, not being heard or not being felt?
When we die, do we want the news of our deaths to be heard or felt? A legacy to be proud of is one where the news of our passing resonates with people. How much noise we make when we fall is irrelevant.
Should we really be proud of living a day where we didn’t break any laws, didn’t say anything negative, didn’t argue with a loved one, didn’t do anything to excess, didn’t act arrogantly, or didn’t take our life or our health for granted? Should we really be proud about not being insufferable?
The days to be most proud of are the days we performed to our maximum potential with no audience.
Supermodels sell without speaking. Aspiring stoics can learn from this idea that if we speak less and model more, we can create more lasting positive change on those we interact with. Our egos will not like it, because we won’t be able to take credit for the sale, but there’s really no commission greater to be earned than living well for the sake of actively doing good.
If we fancy ourselves creative and value creativity, but fail to value creative differences or see creative differences as a source to enhance our own creativity, we are not creative. We are conservative.
Greatness and vileness are the two leading human Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to carving a niche in the annals of history. Goodness makes up the 90% of gray that falls between the extremes of greatness and vileness. The amount of goodness we demonstrate through our actions with those we connect with each and every day is what we will be remembered for. No single act, no solitary achievement, no title held, but rather a string of conscious decisions that will define the legacy of all of us that don’t find our way onto the pages of history’s books.
Caring is important. Caring about things that matter to us can help us do better work, only if what we care about is something that is in our locus of control. Caring about things that matter to us, but are out of our control, may make us seem empathetic or compassionate. However, if we don’t have the capacity to make a positive change in the areas we choose to place our care and concern, who benefits from our caring display? Nothing, no one, nowhere is the recipient of care without action.