Why is inaction so easy?
Three recent life experiences:
- The credit card machine at the local sandwich shop wasn’t working. The guy behind me is informed of this after placing his order, which totaled $4. However, he did not have any cash. Yet, I did. I could have given him $4 to buy his meal. I didn’t.
- We recently had a new neighbor move into the apartment across the hall from us. One day, we happen to be walking into the building at the same time. We haven’t formally introduced ourselves. He didn’t speak. I felt the urge to say hello. I didn’t.
- On a recent beautiful fall day, I’m walking down the street, in a rush to no where (business school life). The guy walking in-front of me is carrying two bags of fruit. One of the bags, filled with apples, breaks. Apples roll across the sidewalk. I thought about helping him pick them up. I didn’t.
Being aware is simply not enough.
I wanted to do these things. I wanted to lend a hand. I wanted to help. I wanted to speak.
What stopped me?
On a weekly basis we are confronted with a number of situations similar to the ones I experienced recently.
However, taking action is hard. Action is hard because it requires intentionality. Intentionality takes effort. Its not enough to simply be aware. We must be aware and be intentional.
On the train yesterday I gave my seat to an older lady. I was aware that she likely would like to sit down. I was intentional and acted on this awareness.
Not only must we be aware in life, we must also show up.
Debt: (1) something that is owed or due. (2) an obligation.
In society there is an interesting dichotomy when it comes to debt. There is what some call “good debt” (ie, a mortgage, a educational loan), or capital / resources put towards an investment that has the potential to grow in value. Then, there is “bad debt” (ie, credit card debt, a payday loan), or an investment that quickly loses its long term value and has minimal potential to grow in value in the future. We all have had, or will have, some form of each debt over the course of our lives. Yet, what I want to call attention to is the debt that we share. The one debt that we all have in common. It is the obligation that connects and binds us to one another. The obligation that we all share, is the obligation to be more human.
Be more human:
Speak openly about your failures
Being more human is a “good debt”. Our investment in being more human connects us to one another. We make payments with emotional capital. Emotional capital that cultivates the growth we seek in our relationships. Failure to pay according to schedule doesn’t have an immediate impact on our lives. Instead, the negative impact accumulates over time, just as with financial debt. Ultimately, leaving us emotionally bankrupt and disconnected from our community and the world we live in.
Our obligation to be more human has no maturity date and the interest is payable daily.
Unfortunately, there is no auto-pay. It is hard, but we are obligated to do it.