What have you done today to contribute to the world?
One of the common responses to the question why are you stressed in your job or your life is “I just don’t feel that I am making a difference with what I am doing with my life.”
I think we all want to make a difference in the world. Our inner voice often tells us that we are not doing anything important to anyone. Look at what Mother Teresa accomplished. Martin Luther King. And others too numerous to list. We just don’t stack up. Or do we?
This morning as I was putting out the trash there was a team of guys there getting ready to install natural gas for my 85-year-old neighbour. I know she has been extremely stressed over the incredible price she has paid for oil this year. She also pays a premium on insurance for having an oil tank. Coupled with this she has a fear of running out at any time and to check her levels she climbs through the snow and up onto a rickety box to check the gauge a couple of times a week if I am away speaking or teaching and can’t do it. One of the guys doing the install was lamenting how because it has been such a tough winter that they are so far behind. He then went on to say that this made him sad because it is so important that they get gas in for people, especially the elderly. This is because it not only gives them tremendous savings but it also gives them a feeling of security knowing that the oil won’t leak or run out. This man was not out saving the world from starvation or human atrocities, but he certainly did know he was contributing significantly to others. He was not concerned at all with what he could not do, the size of his contribution or whether he was recognized for great contributions. He just knew he was making the lives of others better.
Put in that context, are you contributing to society? I suspect you are. Take a few minutes and think about all the ways you do make a difference in the lives of others. Write it down. I think the length of the list will surprise you. You might even come up with some ideas of how to extend the list with little effort and in ways that actually help your life balance and reduce your stress.
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