Saturday, May 16, 2020

Exceptional people throughout history have been miserable. And - often - murdered by mobs. So why the hell would we want that anyway?

Many in my generation seem to not want to

And we have our reasons. REAL, JUSTIFIABLE, LEGITIMATE reasons.

We did stuff in the past. Lots of stuff. Busted our ass, worked-our-fingers-to-the-bone stuff. And in the end it made no difference.

So we stopped trying.

I get it.

Sincerely, I do.

But I think we pendulum swung the other way, and would benefit from correcting to a middle ground.

See, we were raised to believe one person could (and therefore SHOULD) change the world. We were raised to "swing for the fences."

These teachings aren't bad on their face, but they are EXTREMELY bad for those of us who continued to fall on our face - as most folks do - despite our best efforts.

I'm swinging for the fences, ma! Why do I keep striking out? Where are my home runs? I'm trying to change the world, pa! So why do my efforts fall so flat? Why do I feel so fucking useless?

Fellow Millennials - I offer you this insane (but pragmatic) advice: AIM FOR THE MIDDLE.

Swinging for the fence every time will wear you out. "Change the world" is a helluva item to have on your daily to-do list.

It's no wonder, with goals like that, that you busted your ass/worked your fingers to the bone for a while. And it's likewise no wonder that, when those Herculean efforts fell short again and again and again, you gave up.

Now you just bury yourself in Netflix because what's the point in trying? The end result of both is the same.

You know how to change the end result? AIM FOR THE MIDDLE.


Because exceptionalism is, by definition, elusive and exclusionary. And if we're honest with ourselves, the exceptional people throughout human history have been miserable. And, often, murdered by mobs. So why the hell would we want that anyway?


Stop swinging for the fences, and just try to connect the bat with the ball. You don't have to be Hank Aaron (You're NOT. You won't be. No sense saddling yourself with that expectation.) Just focus on making contact. Get a single, double, or triple. Hell, keep your eyes open to make sure what you're being offered is even a good pitch, because if it isn't? You may get to go to 1st base just because the pitcher screwed up.

STOP TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD, and, instead, help your neighbor, family member, or friend. Know who DID change the world? Mother Teresa. Know how she did it? ASK HER!

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

"We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do."

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."

"I want you to be concerned about your next-door neighbor. Do you know your next-door neighbor?"

Like so many in my generation - and likely YOU - I've felt that what little I've contributed hasn't amounted to a hill of beans, so why try? Life and effort are meaningless. We're all gonna die anyway. Kim Kardashian is a gazillionaire for having a sex tape and a big butt, and the rest of us will die in obscurity.

What's on Netflix?

But in recent months I have been attempting - at least once a day - to aim for the middle. What's a small thing I can do today that can move the Needle of Awful just one one-millionth of one percent toward Sucks Less?

And it's been paying off. Psychologically and otherwise.

I took a walk the other day, and, instead of wordlessly passing a neighbor (What's the point in talking?), I paid her a compliment. That compliment became a 30 minute conversation. That conversation is blossoming into a friendship.

I know. Earth-shattering stuff.

But when you look at the state of the world - when you think about how often you feel lonely and helpless and hopeless - a new friendship IS a form of earth-shattering stuff. It's possibilities. It's new ideas. It's a new perspective. It's more presents on your birthday!


Clean out that room you've been meaning to for ages. Donate the junk from it. Tell yourself some poor family got your junk and loved it.


Get a book from a Little Free Library. Actually read it. Put a book back. Imagine someone reading your stupid donated book.


Make the phone call you've been putting off for 2 weeks, 6 months, 4 years.


You won't lose 20 pounds in a day. Probably not this year. Maybe never. But you can forego that one extra Coke today and feel good about it.


You probably won't be remembered for all time. But the time you spend with your kid today? They'll remember for the rest of their life. And it will affect how they treat their children. So that's a good 80 years of influence right there. Not bad.


"Small," very achievable activities like these are worth doing. And we NEED to do them. For ourselves and for future generations.

Roll your eyes all you want, the little earthquakes reverberate - they make you feel better. They replace the feeling of powerlessness for a few minutes.

I've come to believe they are the only ways out of the abyss.

And there's still a part of me that wants out of the abyss.

I think there's part of you that wants out of the abyss too, or else you'd have abandoned this post paragraphs ago in favor of yet another binge of "The Office."

So many of us are hurting. So many of us are lost and disillusioned.

We feel powerless, but we're not.

We've just been misled about where true power resides.

You don't have to be Churchill to change the world. But you do have to contribute somehow.

Watch for good pitches. Swing and just hope to connect.

In any and all things, just hope to connect.


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