“Don't ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
— Harold Thurman, US civil rights activist and theologian
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What floats your boat, lifts your skirt, puts lead in your pencil?
What do you care deeply about?
What makes you come alive, truly Alive?
One of the greatest things you can do for your life is nurture your sense of caring about something, anything.
Caring deeply and being enthused keeps you out of the single most dangerous thing that humans can experience: apathy. That grey, sleep walking mode of life. Where you can’t be bothered, where there’s no passion, no meaning, no … Life.
Apathy is a slippery thing.
It’s a cruel thing too because it starts off so innocently and small – “I can’t be bothered” – but grows quick. “I can’t be bothered” becomes “What’s the point?” so rapidly you don’t even notice until you’re drowning in meh.
And I get it. I get it. There are a ton of things for you to do. A ton of responsibilities and not nearly enough time to look after everyone shouting for your attention.
It’s tiring, working, looking after the family, maintaining the relationships, looking after your health and fitness. When the kids have gone to bed I totally understand the couch crash and watch TV or flick through the phone routine.
This is not about not switching off, or being at leisure. Please don’t get me wrong here, because that time is important, and useful.
Don’t see this as yet another thing to do, another thing to add to the to-do list.
This isn’t a duty or another weight to carry, this is an invitation to switch ON, to light a fire in your heart, to really fly.
The greatest lives have meaning.
All your heroes have a sense of meaning and a sense of why in their lives. And that comes from interest and caring about something, it comes from passion, and it comes from getting up and doing something about that.
Now you may judge your heroes to have grand missions in life, and on reflection, what you care about may seem small and insignificant.
Don’t get stuck in that trap. Caring deeply is important, full stop.
It may be as “big” as having world-wide impact in politics, the community, movies, music, literature, sport, it may be as “small” as a hobby or your relationship with your kids or coaching music or a sports team.
Caring deeply is important not at scale, but simply because it gives you meaning and meaning is Life. That is what the world needs, to quote Harold Thurman: people who have come Alive.
There is so much you could care deeply about, and I don’t really want to tell you what.
You already know, but the trouble is that you don’t make the time to reflect on what these things might be, nor to go and do them.
It’s so easy to get stuck in the rat race, that hamster wheel of the same-old, same-old. To take that slow slide into survival, to just try and make it to the weekend. Or make it to the next week where you hope and pray that everything will settle down, and you can get back to normal, or back to time for you.
I agree, you don’t have a lot of time, so you will have to be a little directed in your day.
Does flicking through Facebook or Instagram for so long really light that fire within you? And instead of 3 episodes of whatever TV on a regular basis, perhaps 1 will do? Perhaps you could even try saying no to a few things and a few people, more often.
The fact is we delay and we delay and then it’s the end. We never get to truly living. We never discover the purpose of our individual lives.
So care about something, OK?
Be passionate. If you can’t be passionate, be interested. Give yourself time to Then find a way of sharing that experience with others.
The world is an amazing place and life is an amazing thing, but don’t wait to be given it. You have to make sure you make the most of it – not only for the good of yourself, but everyone around you.