Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Profundity of our Life

I have been blessed recently to work with a number of clients who, while representing a broad spectrum of industries, have a single item in common:

Each of their products or services will have a positive impact on their customers, an impact that extends to the families of their customers, every person that these people know, etc.

It's a reminder to us that our service to others, whether intentional or accidental, will impact many people around us in both a negative or positive way.

One of the common philosophies regarding the impact of our actions on our descendants is that the impact of every action we take can be explicitly identified in people seven generations after us.  The other interesting thing to note is that these explicitly identifiable impacts can be identified in a generation that exists after we have most assuredly moved on to our resting place.  We will never personally know this generation but who we are lives on in them.

When one thinks of such impact, it brings to mind the notion that every action we take has a profound impact on those around us and descended from us.  Even the most insignificant action (purposeful or accidental) changes the lives of everyone forever.

It might be a choice of where to live, moving to a locale that at some point in the future will have a profound environmental impact on a descendent.  It might be the creation of a child (again, with purpose or by accident) who will at some point manifest actions of their own that will have impact on the world.  It might be choices of lifestyle including physical, mental, spiritual or emotional health that seem insignificant at the moment but will have great impact on the world directly or indirectly.

I heard a great song this morning by Monk and Neagle ( entitled The 21st Time that describes someone who constantly ignores those around him (including homeless people and people in welfare lines) and then suddenly comes to the realization "what if one of the people I am ignoring is Jesus?". 

When we become aware of the profundity of our choices , we realize how important each of our actions is, regardless of our perception of the scale of the action at the time.

We have all read about the butterfly effect, the notion that the flapping of a butterfly's wings on one side of the world can amplify into a tremendous storm on the other side of the world.

The actions we take are exactly the same.  Positive actions, no matter how large or small, continue to grow and amplify, impacting people we will never meet and in turn, impacting all of their descendants in addition to our own.  Conversely, negative actions will produce a negative result on a similar scale.

Whether this world becomes a better or worse place to experience now and for many generations to come is all based on the actions that each of us take on a daily basis.  We are making an impact today and leaving a legacy for tomorrow, whether we want to admit it or not.

Think of it this way.  Let's say that 100 years from now, mankind is contacted by a superior life form from a distant galaxy.  The human beings designated to represent earth will play a huge role in determining whether this alien life form approaches us with intentions of peace or feelings of animosity.  The life experiences, both current and inherited, will determine how the human representatives will approach the situation and in turn, will determine whether we enter a new era of knowledge acquisition or we are wiped from the universe.

These human beings could be direct descendants of yours or could be direct descendants of people you will never meet but have been influenced by you or by someone you directly or indirectly influenced.

So in this scenario, positive impact produces phenomenal results while negative impact produces catastrophic consequences.  Perhaps something you do in the next hour determines the future of the entire human race.

Closer to home, each decision we make ripples out around the world like a pebble thrown into a calm pond, either adding to the lives of others (empowering them to more positive results) or detracting from the lives of others (disempowering people, with potentially fatal results in this generation or a subsequent one).

So let's take inventory of our actions, let's be more aware of the global and potentially universal impact of our actions and let's do our best to leave a tremendous legacy to those generations we will never meet.  As Dr. Stephen Covey says, follow the rules of the 4 Ls - live, love, learn and leave a legacy.

To your success.


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