On Relevance

I am certain I have talked about this in the past, but it is a fundamental concept, that I would like to reiterate. Mostly because I have forgotten about it myself.

I want you to think about who in your life is truly relevant. Usually that is only going to be a handful. Now think about why they are relevant. Why do you consider them relevant?

We may be social creatures, but we tend to hand out with people who are convenient a lot. We go for a drink with our coworkers. We talk to that random person at a family gathering. Many relationships are based on a mutual fear to be alone. No, this is not pretty. It’s not sunshine and rainbows, but does that make it less true? In the end we need to be honest with ourselves.

Why am I talking about this? Because we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. But even more importantly and closely related: We need to stop acting so darn entitled. I am going to exaggerate the truth: No one really cares about you. Yes, we have friends and family who do care about us as part of their tribe. They want us to be well, because we add company and fun to their lives. Maybe we also add cultivation and spirit to their lives. But really we stick with people who add value to our lives. That’s what it takes to be considered relevant. That is why most people are replaceable.

Understand that friends and family aren’t calculating the value we add to their lives. And yet that is how we end up being relevant in someone’s life. Yes, not all value is measurable, but in the end there is always some way to decide if someone is worth our time. What I am trying to get at is that we all see the world and our lives from a first person perspective. Of course we think we are the most important person in our lives. Because to us we are. We are the one person we cannot replace. We are stuck with ourselves. And hence it is up to us to build a life that we consider to be worth living. Which is why we choose to only keep the people in our lives who add value.

And with that we are at the entitlement problem that I mentioned: Because our lives are presented to us in first person perspective there is one thing we can easily slip into: We feel (not explicitly) that if we don’t do a certain thing, say eat our vegetables, someone will care. This is part because our mothers used to care and in part because we live in first person perspective. But no one cares about what we eat. And no one cares if we exercise. The only life we mess up that way is our own. We also tend to feel like someone will have to come and safe us, if we get into trouble. But guess what: no one cares. You miss the deadline for that project? Sorry, no late hand-ins!

As a default we are relevant only to our own lives. That is good news and bad news. On one hand, no one will come safe us. But also if we decide to live a better life we can, because no one cares about what we do enough to hold us back.

We tend to have this attitude, that we are the only good person in this world and everyone else is trying to harm us. Newsflash: people don’t care enough to go out of their way to harm us. We might get harmed by accident, because again: no one cares. But that is not evil intent. It might be ignorance, sure, but only because who ever did the hurting was busy living their own lives.

And that really is the take home message: We should all start taking ownership for our own lives. Because no one else will.

Now let me re-iterate the “no one” part of no one cares. There is people who do care. And I know there are few people we do care about. I do not advocate for hurting people by ignorance. Nor do I advocate for not caring for people. But I have found that not assuming ill-intent reduces the hurt, hate and anger that I personally feel. I think educating and developing ourselves to be the best version we can be is not only great for adding value to other people’s lives, but also for living the best live we possibly can.

Of course this whole topic may have been a hit to the ego. And we might feel just a little more insecure now. There is one surefire way to deal with that insecurity: Our value does not come from other people deeming us valuable. It does come from other people caring about us. It comes from us caring about other people. Let me repeat: Our value is independent of whether or not other people care about us, it is about us caring for other people.

Here’s the intrinsic problem with that: We tend to not care so much for other people, because we are the most important person to ourselves, because of the perspective. So the easiest way to start caring for other people is to find ways to care for other people and us at the same time. And the most awesome way to do that is by “simple” honesty.

Doing what we said we are going to do is the obvious, even though not that simple. But what is even more important is being honest with ourselves. And hopefully that honesty means we end up taking responsibility for our lives and the relationships we have in our lives. We need to understand that we tend to like people who take responsibility. Who are more than just talk. People who take action. Reliable people who follow up on their word. People who when they say something they believe it. Because they know they don’t lie. No full on lie. No little white lie. Just no bullshit. People who say they are going to do something and then end up doing it, not just because they said they are going to do it, but because they said it out of conviction in the first place.

People who burn up with real passion. People who have real knowledge backing their claims. People with the discipline and enthusiasm to take control of their own lives. These people are the ones we consider inspiring. And the one thing they understood is that they are on their own. They are the ones in charge of their lives. People who understand that no one cares enough about them, to hand them what they want. People who understand that the only person their day-to-day habits impact is themselves and a select few in their inner circle.

Let’s become that person. Let’s look to other people for inspiration. And then let’s stop comparing, stop trying to seek attention and finally do the things we know we should be doing. Build the lives we dreamed of living and finally once we reached all that give back. Give back to the community for all the inspiration and support we received on our journey to the best versions of ourselves.

That my friends is how we become truly magnetic. It starts with ourselves. And what we do with the time that is given to us. Which is really the only choice we ever have to make. We have to understand our place and cut the bullshit. And from there we can look to having a positive impact on the people around us.

Or we just hop on the internet and write lengthy blog-posts about something that we have not yet achieved ourselves, just to remind ourselves of where we want to be going. Hehe. Thank you for reading this and caring a little. You are making the world around you a better place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s