I Don't Matter
So, you think you’re special huh? Some God gifted specimen with super powers that will change the world?
Everything is owed to you and life isn’t fair once something isn’t going your way?
Mom and Dad said that you can be anything you want if you work hard and follow the rules to the game? Wait, did they also remind you about how special you are?
I certainly hope they did.
As you’re growing up, you’re starting to analyze your environment. You’re looking at what’s making money out there. You’re seeing school as an insurance policy to get closer to financial security. You have 10 classes and finding one subject to be more interesting than the others. Sounds like you’ve met your match; but did you analyze all the other million possibilities that the establishment didn’t shove down your throat? I mean, the ones that they don’t necessarily talk about?
As a student, you’re understandably confused but the clock is ticking :(
“You need to get out of the house and make your own money kid. Look around: everyone else is doing it, let’s go, let’s go”
You’ve now convinced yourself that this one subject is what you love and you’ll find happiness thriving there. You’re so scared of failing so you’re putting extra hours to be the best. The external pressure is powerful and it’s stopping you from looking outside of the box.
You’re saying to yourself: “I gotta make money, I gotta be successful, I don’t wanna be a failure, I don’t want others to think that I’m a loser”.
You’re doing well at school; you have a dream hiding in the back of your mind since you’re a child but it’s not super clear because you’re distracted from all the other obligations; while studying, you get an internship; you keep studying; you keep thinking about your dream every now and then but you’re petrified of what others might think if you start working on it, you’re also petrified of what will happen if it doesn’t work out;
School is over; you get a job; you get a raise; you don’t want to fail your family; you don’t want to fail your friends; you don’t want to fail your lover; you work harder; you get married; you keep working; you book a vacation every now & then to escape from this day to day; you build a family, it doesn’t become about you and your dream anymore;
you get moments where you re-think your life; “maybe my dream can materialize”;
No wait; reality-check; you get another raise; you work harder; now you really don’t want to fail; there is restructuring happening in the company; you lose your job; you need to quickly find work for the sake of the family;
You get another job in the same domain because it’s the only thing you know; you put your kids through college; you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve made it; every paycheck, you transfer a % of your pay in your RRSP account; you retire;
All of this happening while you’re getting numbed by entertainment; fantasizing about your long-lost dream; your kids repeat what they’ve seen and the establishment stays strong.
Life just passed you by and you didn’t notice. Maybe you did notice and embraced average. Maybe you realized that the forces of “what others might think” were stronger than you thought and you decided to wave the white flag screaming “I surrender to fitting in; my ego is too damn strong”.
Throughout the process listed above, you’ve failed; at least once. My question is: did you fail doing something you love? If you would’ve followed your dream, you would’ve probably failed at some point. My point being: why not fail while doing something you truly love?
You’re born in a place that isn’t of your creation and that isn’t necessarily working for your best interest. You don’t really matter. The comfort that the status-quo brought to some sitting at the top has created a gridlock that is, in most places, very hard to unknot.
If you’re currently sitting in the middle of this confusion and you’re wondering what to do with the time you have; I have a few questions that may put things in perspective.
1. Do you want to make money for yourself or for your community?
2. Do you want to be successful for yourself or to help others?
3. Do you want to do something to make someone else proud or to help a cause you really feel is unjust?
4. Do you act/talk/dress a certain way to get all the praises or to inspire others to be who they want to be?
5. Do you put in work in your relationship for yourself or are you willing to take the hit because it matters to the greater good of the family and the relationship?
6. Do you love it when everything is about you or are you someone with too much love to give and very little to take?
Translating this into business got me to understand how to be a CEO. It’s a fresh title, no doubt about it; but it comes with responsibilities. One of which, in my opinion is the most important: my decisions are only about the company, the team and the community; they can never be about me. Every single decision must be guided by the following premise: will the outcome of my decision be better for the company, for the team and for the community?
Making everything about you gives you this temporary relief. An impression that you’re going through a healing process of fixing your internal battles. Your ego is like a black hole that will ultimately never be fulfilled, so, if the answers to my six questions above are always the latter of the two; you really don’t matter; but from everyone else’s perspective; trust me when I tell you that you do matter.
More than you know.
If you want to do something extraordinary or follow some crazy dream; remove the “I” from the equation because nobody really cares until it becomes about “them”. If you know that the bigger picture of what you’re doing is to create something positive for “them” because “they” matter, then you are truly something special.