Today, I spoke at length with a man whom I see almost every day. He frequently stops me to engage in conversation, and a friendlier person can’t be found, especially doing his job. He works as a security guard, making probably no more than $15 / hr, though I can’t be sure. What I can be sure of is that he is older (late 50s to early 60s), lonely, and trapped in a life beneath him. We spoke today and he imparted to me his visions and grand plans for his future and how he plans to make his fortune. He spoke of his hero, Richard Branson, and how the only difference between them was that Branson managed to get some things done. He went on and on about how he was just going to go for it. Like so many others these days, his plan was to build an internet company of some kind.
I mean this man no disrespect, and should he ever read this, I apologize for what I’m about to say. The entire scene filled me with a deep sadness. My greatest fear in life is insignificance. I want my life to count. I want to make a difference. I have a gift for entrepreneurship and a vision for building organizations and helping others fulfill their own dreams and visions. That is my calling. There are other things I’d like to do along the way, but if I can accomplish only one thing with my life, that would be it (other than remaining true to my faith, but that’s another story). This man’s story will end, almost certainly, like millions of others. He will die with little to his name, his dreams unfulfilled, and his story forgotten. That sounds so incredibly harsh that I’m going to save this as a draft for a few days to ensure I actually want to post this. But the sad reality is that outside a handful of those who know him best, this man’s life will likely make very little difference in the world in any kind of tangible way. I can’t imagine a sadder end for a human life than to miss your purpose, your calling.
The one inspiring thing was his overwhelming optimism, even in light of his naive outlook. I certainly would encourage him to try and try again, as genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, and it’s never too late to start something. However, the odds are overwhelmingly against him now, much more so than if he were 40 years younger.
There is no yesterday; there is no tomorrow. There is only today and right now; what we do with this moment is ours alone to choose. Choose wisely.