It was the kind of one-liner that immediately sent chills through my bones as my mind accepted this simple yet powerful truth.
Our generation is driven, ambitious, and restless to make an impact on the world. We want to leave our mark. We expect to leave an imprint. But the reality is that most of us don’t. Before you bash on me for being pessimistic, hear me out first. We might not leave behind a famous legacy but I’ll argue that our ultimate success lies in the impact we have on our immediate surroundings.
We can’t control those around us. We don’t control what will happen in the future. We won’t know what the consequences of our choices will be. But we can live in the day, moment by moment, and be in charge of ourselves. It all starts with our actions.
Our actions create a butterfly effect – they are the stones we throw into the water that start spreading outward ripples through the otherwise untouched surface. The larger the initial impact, the more powerful and long-lasting the resulting ripples. And sometimes, if all goes as planned, the ripples can turn into waves.
When I first entered the real world after graduating college, I quickly discovered the high anxiety that came with obligatory feelings to be grand. I believed it was what the world expected from me…it was what I was “supposed” to do.
But the presumptions were all in my head. Some people are fueled by these expectations but I was quickly being crushed by them. And so I stepped back, gazed downwards, and started focusing on me. By taking charge of myself, I obtained control of my own life.
It’s tempting to dream big. In fact, I encourage it! But don’t neglect yourself first and foremost because it all starts with you. As they say, be the change you want to see in the world.