Saturday, July 24, 2010
On How I Failed
A few weeks ago, i unexpectedly got myself into subscribing for a blog called It Starts With Us. I wouldnt say i bumped into it by chance because the more life goes, the less i believe in chance and luck. "The goal of ItStartsWith.Us is to build a global community of individuals focused on making a positive impact in the lives of the people around them". We, as individuals, cannot change the world but we, as individuals can change the perception people have around us. And if ALL of us would do something like this, than yes, we could change the world. Nate St. Pierre is the man behind that brilliant idea and every Tuesday, we all receive an assignment, a mission towards that goal of changing the world. It is generally a "simple" mission, something that shouldnt take more than 15 minutes of your time.
Needless to say that after i subscribed, i was eagerly waiting for my first assignment. And it came, as always, on a Tuesday:
"Meet someone new this week. In person or online, it doesn't matter . . . just have a sincere conversation with someone you don't yet know. And here's the kicker - try to think of a way you can help them with something, either right then and there, or during a follow-up later in the week."
And i went blanck.
I was like, shit, that's a tricky one. How am i supposed to meet someone new? WHERE am i supposed to meet someone new. I mean, i meet new people every day at work, and a lot of them. But to consider one of them as a possible candidate for that assignment, to have a meaningful and sincere conversation with one of them was like, mmm, how???
People always seem to think i'm this outgoing person, meeting new people every other day, talking to complete strangers all the time and friends of mine, and when i talked to them about that, seemed to say, oh, it's gonna be piece of cake for you this one. Really? Piece of cake? I've actually lost sleep over that mission. I was looking at the calendar, seeing the days passing and getting more and more nervous by the hour. I realized i was going to fail miserably on my FIRST mission. I mean how bad is that? On top of everything else, all the people i mentioned that first assignment to kept on inquiring on how the "meeting a new person" was going? Reminding me how bad i was failing at it.
I have sincere and meaningful conversations with people, with a lot of them. But weirdly, none of the ones i had that week seemed to fit. The guy asking me in the fruit department of wal-mart if i knew where to find bagels in Vallarta didnt seem like a good option, this guest i took care of asking me to hold on to his camera so he could run up to his cabin on the 14th floor of the cruise ship so i could take a picture of him from the pier was a word machine and i couldnt allow myself to step out of work to listen to him and the people in the bus at 6pm on their way back home dont seem to want to do anything else but arrive back home and rest.
I mean isnt there anybody alone or lonely in this world that could have crossed my path this week and helped me complete my mission? Or was it really for me an impossible one to accomplish?
When i received this week's assignment ("inspire someone"), i was excited again. I was supposed to write someone i care about a letter or an email to inspire him/her. And when that very same day, i received a text from my best friend saying how stressed and depressed she was at the idea of presenting her driving licence for the Nth time the following morning, i knew it was a clear sign to me that she would be the one to benefit that mission.
She called me this morning and told me: I GOT IT! Thank you SOOOO much for the kind words, it made my day.
Hearing her so happy truly made my day as well. And i wasnt even out of bed yet!! I realized at that very moment, how powerful words can be, how much a few kind words can do, how big an impact they can make. I'm not saying that thanks to my letter to her, she succeeded her driving exam. But i guess she realized how much she means and how great she is and that everybody can use a little reminder every now and then. I, on the other hand, realized how easy it is to make someone feel good and how rarely we take the time to do it. How much does a compliment cost? How much does a smile cost?
I completed mission #2 almost on the day it arrived. However, i have this feeling of un-accomplishment because i didnt complete mission #1. I feel like a fraud. I feel like i passed to level 2 using a shortcut, totally cheating everybody. And it doesnt make me feel good at all. It kinda tarnishes the pleasure i had to make my friend happy and confident. And i know i wont feel at ease with my missions until i complete them ALL. Until i complete the first one i was given.
So this is a message to that complete stranger out there: we will meet sometimes soon and i have this unexplicable feeling it'll bring something great to both of us.
I have said before that i believe that everything happens for a reason. All of the dots are connecting right now, little by little, and it seems that life is putting all the tools in my hands to make me understand that it is my turn to be happy. And it seems that i can reach that goal by making other people smile. Everybody has a reason to be on this earth, apparently, mine is to make people smile. Otherwise, how would you explain me finding websites like Operation Beautiful, It Starts With Us or Drop a Love Bomb ?
I dont think so.