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Poco a Poco: On Making a Difference

“Slow and steady wins the race.” — The Tortoise & the Hare

Photo by the author.

The best achievements in life are achieved poco a poco. That is, little by little. Be patient, work hard… little by little you will succeed.

If your life were a story, what would the plot be? What is the hero’s quest? What are the main themes? How will it end?

Perfection vs. Purpose

You’re probably familiar with the metaphor of life being like a jigsaw puzzle with pictures on both sides of the pieces. I’ve heard it used a few times by motivational speakers over the years. On one side is a picture of you, and on the other side is everything else in the world, the issues, the conflicts, the chaos, a mess that looks and feels like nonsense. It was proposed that if you try to solve the picture puzzle that is the world, you will never get it worked out, because it is too chaotic and complex. On the other hand, if you put the picture together that is you, then behold, you will then be able to see the world aright.

About twenty years ago I began suspecting there was a flaw in this thinking. This is not to say we shouldn’t strive to improve ourselves, but if our focus is only on making our selves better, whether more “together” or less neurotic or more “holy” and unblemished, how far does one go with this? You can make perfection a lifetime quest and still never get there. How many perfect people do you know?

In actuality, it may be that without a clear purpose, external to our selves, that we lack the motivation to truly deal with our shortcomings, imperfections, character defects. Having a defined purpose gives us a cause, and the motivation to remove those hindrances that interfere with our personal life aims. Having a purpose motivates us to do the homework and make the necessary personal sacrifices.

Example. When you’re angry, you are too loose with your tongue and don’t care that it offends people. You find that it has cost you a couple jobs. You have children and have a strong motivation to provide for them, so you deal with this issue. You “improve yourself” because there is a higher purpose involved.

A good life operates on both fronts, improving oneself and making a difference in the world, and in the lives of those around us whom we serve.

There’s a sense in which blogs are similar to lives in some ways. Poco a poco… little by little we add strings of words, trying to identify a plot amidst the themes, often wondering where it will end. Having a purpose supplies us with the fuel that keeps us going, enabling us to do the best we are able and, if possible make a contribution toward making the bigger picture a better picture.


Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com