It isn’t really important to decide when you are very young just exactly what you want to become when you grow up.
It is much more important to decide on the way you want to live.
If you are going to be honest with yourself and honest with your friends, if you are going to get involved in causes which are good for others, not only for yourselves, then it seems to me that that is sufficient, and maybe what you will be is only a matter of chance.
Those words were said decades ago by Golda Meir; I just came across it the other day. I am now grappling with two teenagers soon to be college bound, so her words resonated a bit more than usual. They are now going through the pre-university mill, asked to declare their academic interests, their gift to society, and parrot nonsensical blather so elders will sagely nod..
The point of her comment is simple; get involved with others–and that is true for young and old, makes no difference.
A cause–any cause–is bigger than you, and such involvement almost always elevates people to a different level. It exposes us to a different part of life, that of giving. We’re supposed to do that anyhow. Giving is always better than receiving, but oh, how easily we lose track, concerned about our universe rather than others.
Get involved in something bigger than you. We all now live in a virtual world, and while the internet connects us in new and supportive ways, we’re still human (until we’re not..). We must remain engaged to make the world better. That’s the goal. Every generation is supposed to leave the world a better place (and personally not convinced we’re doing a sterling job of it right now..).
Get away from the smartphone, tablet and social media a bit more, spend time with a [real] community and cause–that’s the point of the crowd, and losing sight of it makes us all the poorer.
What Meir didn’t [directly] say is that you become is what you do. Aristotle did write it long ago, and virtue is indeed a habit.
If we do something long enough, it transforms us. We become what we were not. Hence, patience is a virtue..
Get involved with others to raise society, which is more than most of us do. Your life will take shape around that. It raises your moral game to think of others first. That’s the rich life, and one well lived.
And as I finished writing this, came across an amazing article in the NYT about someone who has done just that, against all odds and with an iron-clad legacy..
Written by Neal Horwitz, President of Henry Hale Maguire
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