One of my favorite sayings is “you can only do what you can do.” So often, the world’s problems seem too big for us to handle and our reaction is to turn inside and focus on how and why things can’t be done, improved or outright fixed.
And while it is true that sometimes the systems in place make it very hard to affect large-scale change, if we stay focused on the changes we can make personally, we can continue to push forward. Because there are other people struggling with the same thing you’re struggling with - asking themselves, does my work make a difference? Yes it does. Especially when we all focus on doing the right thing.
When we all embrace this philosophy, we end up working in parallel - not always on the same task, but with the same goal. Someone may be working on poverty, while another is working on climate change education while still another is working on diversity and inclusion issues. Different individual goals, but all working to make the world a better place.
In a world of social media and instant news, it’s only natural that people might feel isolated and overwhelmed by negativity. But there is much good happening by people “doing what they can do.” What I like about this philosophy is that it is appropriate no matter your station in life. Those that can do more, can and should do more. Those that can do a little, should do everything they can. Sometimes it’s as simple as smiling at someone on the street or providing a new pair of socks to a homeless person.
I choose to do what I can do by leveraging my chosen business to help people invest in a way that not only benefits them, but the world around them. I use my position to write, give talks and network with people in an effort to make the world a better place. I’m doing what I can do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
And that leads me into the title of this piece, On Gratitude. Despite what you might hear or read, this really is the best time ever to be alive. From a 2016 BBC piece entitled, Why The Present Day Could Be The Best Time To Be Alive, “The likelihood of a violent death has never been lower; on average, we’re better educated than ever, and childhood mortality has plummeted. Among the most striking changes, the last few decades has brought remarkable successes in tackling global poverty: in 1981, almost half the people in the developing world lived below the poverty line; as of 2012, that figure had dropped to 12.7%.”
Don’t let the scaremongers, well, scare you! There’s a lot of good in this world. Look to your left and right - there’s probably somebody working in parallel to you, doing their part to make the world even better. Be grateful for them.
It’s now the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m the only person in the office today. The rest of the team is traveling to be with their family. A banjo player is outside the window. A random dude was dancing his heart out to some music that only heard. Families are together walking around downtown, supporting local businesses. Life is good. Be grateful.
Below are a few things that I’m grateful for. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!