“The impression left after watching the motions of birds is that of extreme mobility – a life of perpetual impulse checked only by fear.”
This is a thought on making an impression and having a purpose and doing ‘what I’m going to do’ with a sense of character. I share my thoughts aware that we are in a world where grandstanding & bluster seems to be the norm.
Let me begin with a thought about Pete Seeger:
“I’m driving north, and on the other side of the road I see from the back a tall, slim figure in a hood and coat. I’m looking, and I can tell it’s Pete, He’s standing there all by himself, and he’s holding up a big piece of cardboard that clearly has something written on it. Cars and trucks are going by him. He’s getting wet. He’s holding the homemade sign above his head—he’s very tall, and his chin is raised the way he does when he sings—and he’s turning the sign in a semicircle, so that the drivers can see it as they pass, and some people are honking and waving at him, and some people are giving him the finger. He’s eighty-four years old. I know he’s got some purpose, of course, but I don’t know what it is. What struck me is that, whatever his intentions are, and obviously he wants people to notice what he’s doing, he wants to make an impression—anyway, whatever they are, he doesn’t call the newspapers and say, ‘I’m Pete Seeger, here’s what I’m going to do.’ He doesn’t cultivate publicity. That isn’t what he does. He’s far more modest than that. He would never make a fuss. He’s just standing out there in the cold and the sleet like a scarecrow. I go a little bit down the road, so that I can turn and come back, and when I get him in view again, this solitary and elderly figure, I see that what he’s written on the sign is ‘Peace.'”
a friend of Seeger’s
So. I knew of Pete Seeger but didn’t really know him – he was of a different generation than I. That means he, as an activist, I wasn’t there to see him in action. And as a musician he never really did anything that made it on my ‘that is what I like’ radar.
Regardless. The thought … ‘what struck me is that, whatever his intentions are, and obviously he wants people to notice what he’s doing, he wants to make an impression …’
Not everyone has a sense of purpose like Seeger. And we shouldn’t. Everyone is wired differently.
By the way, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t. Today’s world seems to be asking everyone to ‘have a purpose’ or suggest everyone should be defined by something extraordinary. That’s bullshit. Utter bullshit.
As Mike Walsh suggested for business, it is also true for people – it is absolutely fine to do something ‘mundane and profitable’ for you, your soul, your esteem and your family.
Look. I imagine most of us just want good things to happen and for people to do the right thing and kind of bank on the fact most people feel that way. That is fine.
But. Then there are the ones who grab some purpose with a sense of passion and decide to take that purpose on the dance floor and say ‘let’s tango.’
They want to be seen.
They want to make an impression.
I imagine my point is that you don’t have to grandstand or be flamboyant or ‘over the top’ in any way to make an impression.
I imagine my point isn’t that you don’t have to develop a detailed plan or make your attempt a Stanley Kubrick-like event or any ‘grand plan’ to make an impression.
In fact it may be as simple as standing on the side of the road with a hand written sign.
In fact in today’s all-bluster loud grandstanding world a quiet calm simple moment of purpose may actually speak loudest of all.
I liked this story.
And I wanted to share it just to make people think.
Look. If you have something you want to say, just say it.
I sometimes believe we overthink some of the really important simple things. It seems to me that far too many important things that should be said, things that people have a real purpose for and things that people really believe in, get lost because someone else says ‘that’s not the way you should say it’ or ‘this is how you should say it.’
There is no formula for how to say things you want to say.
Simple actions can make a simply loud statement in some very quiet ways.
And, I will point out, the only right thing is saying what is right.
In the end. A hand written cardboard sign on the side of the road. Ponder that.