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Every Item On Your To-Do List is a Miniature Contribution To the World

In: Creating, Hard Stuff, Life,

You know, after the Vegas shooting, I thought a moment of silence, here on the blog, would be appropriate.

Every time a tragedy like this occurs, I am reminded of how insignificant everything else is. To jump into your inbox the next day yapping about refund policies and client contracts would be in poor taste. It’s not only indelicate, but there’s a part of me that can’t help but feel that it’s inhumane.

And then the storm hit.

I am at my cottage in Costa Rica, and Tropical Storm Nate, currently in route to the United States, came through this week and destroyed this country.

I am okay, because I live at the top of a hill—but others were not so fortunate. Many are displaced, their homes washed away. The roads are actual rivers. Crocodiles are reported to be floating around in the streets. Bridges were taken out. And in fact, I am actually trapped here, for the time being, because there’s no passable road to the capital in any direction.

I went to the store immediately to stock up on food, realizing that we wouldn’t have any provisions coming in, either—and then walked even faster when I got the national emergency text message saying to conserve supplies. And then as I stared at the chicken breast, preparing to buy, oh, like, SEVENTY, I thought about how many other people would not be able to eat, if I were to do that. So I bought two, and went home, and put them in the freezer. Ditto water and veggies and pasta and tunafish. Because, tuna fish.

And now the storm is gone. Things are being fixed. Everything will be fine. This was not as severe as many other tragedies we’ve experienced across the globe, by any means, but man, you sit here and you think:

What’s the most important thing I could contribute today?

Is it a blog post? (Maybe it is, depending on what you’re writing.)
Is it hitting a deadline?
Is it posting on Instagram?

We forget that every item on our daily to-do list is actually a contribution to the world.  

We readily add things to it, whether it’s important to us or not, because a to-do list doesn’t feel like our life’s work—except it is.

If a life is made up of a series of moments, then your body of work is made up of a series of to-dos, each one helping you do something remarkable, and important, and meaningful to you—or taking you farther away from that.

There is no in between. None of us are merely drifting through life. There’s always a river taking us somewhere.

But, is it where you want to go?

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