Luke Davis on the importance and change a person can have on another.
There are many ways to play the game of life
You can give up and lose.
You can sit on the bench and watch others play.
You can play solo, winning at all costs.
You can play as a team sharing your victories and losses.
Play it you must, but how you play is your choice.
I think sometimes we forget just how powerful we as individuals are. We get caught up in just getting through life that we forget we make a difference. We go to work every day, pay the bills, look after our kids and partners and socialise every now and again. It doesn’t occur to us that we can change the world, that we matter and we make a difference. Some of you may read this and think I know all this already but this isn’t written for you, it’s written for people like me who in the midst of life forgot, or never learned, that life is worth living and we have the power to shape it.
Your actions make a difference
We all go through life with our friends and families and sometimes we lose sight of the impact we have on those around us. Never doubt that your actions impact those around you. If you doubt that now look back on your life and think about the actions of others that changed your life for better or worse. Sometimes the smallest actions can have the most profound impact in your life, a simple hug at just the right time, a nasty comment to sap your confidence at just the wrong time and either of these could have changed the course of your life.
I finished high school about as down as you could get, I had broken my L5 back bone nine months earlier and was in a turtle shell of a back brace for nearly the whole school year. I entered the school post Christmas season and didn’t really have contact with a lot of my school friends. I was truly starting to wonder what the whole point of life was. Then a friend gave me a call shortly after Christmas and invited me to a New Year’s Eve party.
That simple invitation changed the entire course of my life. Friends I made at that party are still my friends 20 years later, I had a future to look forward to and most of all life became worth living. I don’t think I ever told him how profoundly that changed my life but it did. Just a simple party invitation was all it took.
Even the friends I have made recently after my separation are having such a massive positive impact and I am fairly certain they don’t even realize it. They are teaching me how to live life and I am sucking in their lessons like a man who has been dying in the desert and stumbles onto an oasis.
They are just being who they are, their actions are just those of friends, much like most friends yet to someone who has had that interaction severed it’s like a warm summer shower. So if you are wondering if people notice what you do and who you are – yes we do, it’s just sometimes we forget to tell you.
Your feelings make a difference
Some of us didn’t have such a great childhood, when most of you were learning how to live life some of us were struggling to learn just how to survive. Now I’m on the path of learning how to live, when I look around some of you make me want to scream in frustration. Where I spent a childhood suppressing emotion because it was too overwhelming you folk are learning how to feel, control and regulate it. I don’t think you realize just how wonderful a gift that is because frankly most of you barely seem to use it. Your feelings – they make you awesome.
There are so many of you out there who want to meditate, ground, medicate, calm, self-help or relax yourself to the point of it boggles my mind why you do it. My eyes are open to emotions now and I want to grab all these emotions and experience them again and again. I want to feel alive as I never have before. Happiness is your goal, pride is the trophy for winning, sadness and sorrow is your compass, anger and rage are power sources to drive you forward, love and friendships are your team mates.
For god sakes grab those feelings, feel them, embrace them, own them and harness them. You have emotions for a reason, they are the things that make you great, stop trying not to feel them because I can tell you it’s a horrible dull grey place without them.
Your voice makes a difference
There is currently a big battle brewing in the US about the Coca Cola ad which sings the song America the Beautiful in seven different languages. This battle is actually a battle of two opposing memes, the meme of social intolerance versus the meme of social tolerance. A meme is a cultural transfer of a system of behaviour passed between people. Memes affect fashion, food, the products you buy, politics, racism and literally anything else which has a cultural basis. So at the moment Coca Cola solidified these memes which had been hanging around in the background for quite a while.
For a meme battle to win people have to add their voices behind them, when there are more people clambering for intolerance then tolerance then the intolerance meme will win and become accepted into culture as a norm.
Your voice – it matters. When you support a meme you make it that little bit louder. When you are silent you abdicate your responsibility for how your culture is shaped. If you sit on the fence you are stating you accept the outcome whichever way it falls. Think about this carefully, if you truly believe in tolerance but stay silent you have no right to whine about the outcome. Your voice may not be loud for a global meme but a meme is the sum of all voices and your voice does indeed make a difference. If you want your culture to change for the better then you need to raise your voice and blend it with others of a like mind. Tell your point of view to your friends, post on twitter or Facebook or write to your politicians. Every voice makes the meme louder.
You make a difference
Your actions make a difference. Your feelings make a difference. Your voice makes a difference. You make a difference. You and you alone have the power to change the world around you as you see fit; there are no invitations because you are as entitled to change this world as everyone else is.
Photo credit: (altered) Flickr/Gabriel S. Delgado C.