“He thinks himself rather an exceptional young man,
thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his environment,
and somewhat more significant than any one else he knows.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
When I ask people what they’re afraid of, I get many different answers.
Not being loved.
Not being in love.
Running out of time.
Running out of money.
Not achieving greatness.
Not having a family.
There are as many answers like this as there are people I ask.
The interesting thing for me, however, is that none of these answers are the deeper truth!
They feel like the truth. They keep people up at night. They cause stress.
But they are not the deeper truth.
I believe the deeper truth is that we all want to matter.
And we’re afraid that we don’t or that we won’t or that we haven’t.
How do we, then, fill the major gap that exists in our lives—fearing that we don’t ultimately matter? That it doesn’t matter that we have lived at all?
Perhaps it’s as simple as coming to KNOW any or all of the following:
1. The world is different because you came out of it. Take a moment and revisit all the things that have happened in your life and all the people who have crossed paths with you. Now imagine what would have happened if you’d never been born. Most, if not all, of those things and people and events and outcomes would never have happened when, where, and as they did with YOU IN THE WORLD.
2. The world is different because of what you still have to do. Just as the Past was shaped by your presence, so the Future is going to be defined by your actions. The cool part is that you get to determine what that definition will be.
3. The world is different because there is something about you that is new, unusual, or better. Be honest. If you actually wrote out a list of all the things you do, think, and accomplish, there’s something in that list that is novel. There is something in that list that is curious and out-of-the-ordinary. There is something in that list that is an improvement over what others do.
4. The world is different because there is someone who loves you. We do not come out of this world in isolation. We do not live in this world in isolation. As a result, our interactions with others necessarily implies that there is someone who loves us.
5. The world is different because there is someone you love. Naturally, you matter when you love someone else!
In the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, there’s this marvelous passage: “For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Because you’ve chosen a life of Magic, I know you have the courage to take all the steps necessary to move in the direction of your dreams. I know you have the courage to keep defining your life so that you are an EXPERIENCE for others. I know you have the courage to move past your fears that you don’t matter and start embracing that you do matter.
So . . . having read this, what are you still afraid of?
And where did you learn such a fear?
What’s different now that we’ve spent this time together?
Here’s to you making all the difference in the world!
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