“Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
The world needs so much.
The world needs peace, sustainability, safety, love, justice, kindness, compassion, and an end to hunger, war, hatred, greed, and crime. And the list continues. It is a list bigger than Santa Claus’s list.
And the world simply needs “people who have come alive?” Hmmm Isn’t this an over-simplification of a more complex matrix of political, economical, and social welfare? At first glance it conjures up visions of dancing hippies holding PEACE symbols and wearing flowers in their hair.
And I doubt that happy souls can revolutionize the world by their dancing alone.
But wait. What does it really mean for each of us to “come alive” in our own purpose?
In that great concoction of global needs, what can YOU do to effect positive change? What can I do?
You see not one of us can solve all the world’s issues. Not all of us were born with the resources to find a way to revolutionize the issue of world hunger, and turn it into food for all. None of us, by ourselves, can be effective enough to bring fairness to justice systems. So “come alive” all you want, but the only way you can be effective at all is to come alive to your very own purpose for being here.
Do not try to take on something that does not resonate with you, out of a desire to make a difference. Know instead what makes you come alive, because the world needs your unique gifts as only you can use them.
I, for example, am a kind, loving, supportive mother of one. I am good at it. He comes to me with his deepest joys and darkest moments, and he tells me I am the best mother he could hope for. Does that mean that I should run out and adopt six babies to put an end to the homeless children dilemna?
I know in my heart of hearts that I would be a miserable, frustrated, frantic mother of six babies! I would worry endlessly about how I can possibly be enough for all of them, and I would be gravely concerned about my own mental health … and with sound reason.
But what CAN I do? What can YOU do? What can we do WELL?
Our job is to do what we do best, never stopping to doubt our effectiveness as a small fish in a big pond. To not grow tired in our work. To never lose sight of the fire in our souls. To never give up when faced with challenge.
We need to take heart as we plant our seeds. Every farmer will tell you about the waiting period for the growth of his produce. It takes tending, nurturing, timing, and the wisdom to know what to do in times of challenge. It takes patience, persistence, and determination. It takes strength of character to seek help during the dry spells. Most of all it takes hope and passion for the end result. That alone propels us forward towards the tangible and/or intrinsic result that we hope for.
Do what you do best, and allow yourself to come alive to the truth that you are making a difference.