I have long suspected that all of us face the same decision at some point in our lives. Some of us are never aware of it and I doubt if it always comes from a single event, but unconsciously or not all of us have to decide what sort of person we will be (refusing to make that decision is it’s own answer).
I am under no illusions, I know that most of us will be forgotten within a couple of generations, but that’s irrelevant because it’s what we do now…today…that counts.
It’s a simple decision.
Will I be a decent human being that takes care to consider the other people who have to live, suffer, struggle, laugh, dance, die, battle and love along with me on this planet? Will I strive to leave a positive net effect on the planet and human society? Will this place be better because I was in it?
Will I be selfish and narrow minded, only caring what happens to me and mine? Will I sponge off the Earth’s resources as if they are endless? Will other people suffer because of my neglect, inattention and apathy? Will this place be worse because I was in it?
It seems like a no-brainer but this is where the hard work starts.
To be a better person you must use your brains, which a lot of people seem to have trouble with. I get that thinking difficult thoughts can be painful especially if those thoughts are because you’re failing or need to change something about yourself. But to live as a decent human you must consider your impact on others which does NOT mean treating others as you would want to be treated. It means treating others as THEY want to be treated, which is harder work and takes empathy. To leave a positive impact on the world you must decide where to draw your own lines. Do you know those things you are prepared to put up with vs those you are not? Did you decide those things for yourself or are you following the herd? (and right now the herd seems to be prepared to put up with a LOT of shit for their quiet lives, can you live with that?) To ensure that the world is better because you were in it you must consider the consequences of your actions upon everyone and everything.
None of that is easy. None of it is supposed to be easy.
But I can tell you quite honestly, from personal experience (and on this subject what else is there?) that putting in that work will make your life better. You will hold your head a little higher, having thought about what the difference is between right and wrong. You’ll enjoy your work and free time more, knowing that you are actively striving for a better world for everyone. Your sleep will improve without the stress, angst and guilty conscience that comes from being selfish and self-centred. Your life will be better as a consequence of you making other people’s lives better, not because you expect a reward for your good deeds but because you made the right decision when the time came.