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Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.” It is important that you do it, not to follow the law, to avoid trouble, or so it will bring your happiness, but because it will affect everything else.
I have had my fair share of rejection. In fact, I have had a few people’s share of rejection. I have been denied, turned away, overlooked and completely forgotten. Jobs, schools, boys, circumstances and opportunities rarely come with a positive outcome. Sometimes I am inspired by the lack of faith people have in me, and I strive to prove them wrong, but after a while I am disheartened with each new door slammed in my face.
Sometimes I think it would be easier if I didn’t try. If things aren’t going to work out the way I want them, then why should I even bother? I don’t think I am alone in this way of thinking. I know this because as a society we compare our lives. We compare our marriage to our neighbors’, we compare our success to our coworkers’ and we compare our luck to strangers’. I don’t know where we got the impression that we are guaranteed a life of happiness, or where we got the right to be angry when things don’t go according to plan. We can’t compare life to anything. It isn’t a category that comes with options. It is what it is. It is hard, it is short and it can be despairing. Life is everything. The good and bad, the bright and dark. Life doesn’t make sense. We can’t get a refund when we don’t like how it is turning out.
As humans, we feel entitled to see the big picture. We are at the top of most food chains and we have the capability to change the landscape of our environments. We can see everything below us and we have the innate power to change the outcome of things beneath us. We can see how things are affected when we tweak certain entities. But we can’t see above us. We don’t know how being a good person will affect others. We can’t see beyond our comfort zones. And so we get depressed and frustrated when we don’t see results that for some reason we expect to be there.
I think we should accept that we play a small role in an illogical, meticulously connected existence. We cannot control everything and we can’t control our destiny, but we shouldn’t let that limit us. I believe we can control certain things. We can control our actions and behavior. We should stop trying to see the big picture, because we can’t see it. It is useless and impossible.
Although this may make you change the way you view life, I find this way of thinking rather liberating. Instead of living for a god, money, status, reputation, or an afterlife, we should live for people—for each other. The bond we are capable of molding between every person in this world could be incredible. If we do the things we want to do, and if we try hard at them, we are contributing to lives we have never met, and quite possibly will never meet. But that’s part of the magic—putting our faith and effort into the good for all mankind.
We don’t know what to expect in life, so we shouldn’t expect anything. Things will happen to you that you will not be able to control. Everyone’s actions will affect your life, but you also have a say in your life and in others’. So live for people and live to teach, learn or help. Know that much, if not everything you do, will seem insignificant, but never forget that it is absolutely essential you do it the best way you know how.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kendall Schoemann at Kendall.firstname.lastname@example.org.