“We should stretch our legs and our hopes only to that which is possible.” – Epictetus
Our physical limitations will exert themselves on us by way of nature. Most of us will never win a marathon, or compete in the Olympic games, or swim the English channel. It just isn’t going to happen for us. And for the most part, we are fine with these things. Many of us may go on to run a marathon or even compete in masters level swim meets, but the physical limitations we have to be aware of keep us from being world’s best in many if not all physical contests.
Why is that we are surprised when we also do not become the world’s best, or even best in class in other areas? Most, perhaps all of us reading this, will lead quiet lives that may border on some level of “success” but will not be recorded in the annals of history. Our life accomplishments will be forgotten – even by our own families – within a few generations.
But we have the opportunity to make as many other people’s experiences as pleasant as possible in the short time that we share our small quiet corner of Planet Earth with them. In working to make people’s experiences a little bit better, to share the small bits of knowledge we gather, and try to teach the humble but useful skills we pick up along the way we make an impact we may not be remembered for but one that may very well travel generations into the future. We lessen the unnecessary suffering of our fellow citizens, and in doing so we set the example of helping to lessen suffering to those around us.
If just a few people follow our example, we have made the world a better place.
virtus fortis vocat