A while back, I came across an interesting story about a young reporter. He was visiting his hometown, one which he had not been to in several years, when he noticed something different. It was packed with people.
All the hotels were booked, the restaurants filled, even local neighbors had an extra two or three cars in their driveway as they hosted old friends and acquaintances.
The reporter was curious by this influx in people. Instinctually reverting to his journalistic tendencies, he began asking around to find out what was going on.
Was there a parade? Was some celebrity going to be making an appearance? Was this going to be the spot where they shot the next season of the Jersey Shore?
As he talked with people he continued to hear a similar story. All these people were here for a funeral. In fact it was for a person who had worked in the school system for 40 years.
Who was this mystery person? Was it a radical superintendent? The supportive principle? Some memorable teacher?
In fact it was for the school janitor.
Somehow, without any direct authority, this man was able to impact thousands of young people and leave such an impact that they left their lives for a few days to come to his funeral.
It is almost staggering to think of what he accomplished. The town was filled with 10,000 people to attend his funeral that day, and yet think about how many more people couldn’t have made the trip.
The key point of this story is that this man did not have the limitations we might put on ourselves, “I’m just a janitor.” He is positive proof that our titles in life mean nothing. That the amount of money we make does not equal the amount of impact we have. That we all have the ability to do extraordinary things.
It’s very easy for us to come up with excuses. I’m too young. I’m too old. I don’t know enough. I’m afraid to fail.
There will always be a reason not to do something. We can keep riding that line and letting it encompass our actions or we can say screw it and take a step in an unknown direction.
The truth is, worth is not measurable. It does not deem our potential and capabilities. You cannot rate your intrinsic value based on external circumstances. Your virtue comes from your mere existence, your aliveness.
If we dispense this notion of living a life of subjective worthiness and just start living life, then we can accomplish amazing and limitless outcomes just like that extraordinary janitor.
Where does your value come from? Do you know of any stories like the janitor one? What is the driving motivator for your aliveness or is it simply the fact of feeling alive?
I believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently, constantly. My past has been living in the limits of a societal context, my future lies in following what I believe in, and that middle ground known as present day consists of the surreal purpose of living in the now.