“The purpose of life is to matter–to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that we lived at all.” – Leo Rosten
To make a difference seems to be one of the core desires for most of us, one of the deepest yearnings of our hearts and souls. And it is also something that is relatively simple to do–at least, it is until our rational minds and our egos start telling us that what we are doing really is not making a difference and that we are wasting our time being useless. Both the rational mind and the ego seem to need constant reinforcement if they are to allow us to believe that our efforts are worth something.
Still, whether we actually choose to or not, it is always possible to stand for something. Additionally, it is also more than possible to stand for something wonderful and positive, and not just something pedestrian and safe. When we do this, we are making a difference even if we cannot actually quantify the difference that we are making. And we cannot possibly always know the difference that we are making, nor should we try. The difference is often one piece in a puzzle for others, who may not even recognize the positive influence we have had in their lives.
I know of a wonderful man who goes around giving pens to strangers that say, “Jesus loves you.” I remember hearing a story in which he offered a pen to a woman in line at a cash register, and she said, “You can have your pen back sir, I don’t believe in God.” And he replied, “Oh that is ok, you keep it, he believes in you.” She kept it and left without saying anything else. Maybe it made a difference, maybe not; however, what he offered her was much bigger. He gave to her a slight change in perspective, and we can do the same for others. We can empower others to be kinder, to be more positive, and to show happiness and compassion to those around us. Thus, we can contribute in a positive way to the lives of many people around us, even if we do not receive positive responses.
You do make a difference, and you do not need to hear this truth from others. So keep being kind to others as well as yourself. You will find that your life will brighten in many ways as you make the lives of others brighter–even if your contribution is just one small candle. The light of the world relies on the contribution of every single candle, and no candle is worth less than any other is.
Be confident in your positive contributions to others and the world around you today.
Questions to consider:
Why is it hard sometimes to think that we are making positive contributions in the lives of others?
Why do we sometimes think that our contributions have to be major and quantifiable in order for them to be “significant?”
How might you find new ways to make a difference in the world?
For further thought:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson