“No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.” — Pope Francis
I️ vividly remember the first time I️ went to a larger city and felt how small and insignificant my life was to the world outside my microcosm.
I️ had been to other large cities before, but for some reason this particular trip to Atlanta made me feel small.
When you grow up in a small no-name town, you have your family, your friends, your school and all the little shops, tv shows, restaurants and hangout places like the movie theater and that’s It. We would drive to see distant family. We would go down to Florida on vacation, but the scope of life never really hit me until this trip to ATL. Either I️ wasn’t very aware as a kid, or I️ was busy focused on sports, games, and legos to notice. (Probably both.)
You see, when you’re young, you feel as though you are the center of the universe, which makes sense. You are experiencing things through your own eyes and other senses so of course everything feels U-centered. But it wasn’t till the hustle and bustle of a random ATL trip that I️ became aware of how big the world is.
I️ remember thinking something like:
“Right this very second, there are millions and millions of people out there in the world living there lives while I’m here living mine in this hotel. AT THE SAME TIME.”
This thought didn’t just come to me — IT SMACKED ME IN THE FACE. It was like FOMO plus Panic plus Unimaginable Vastness all stacked into one eye-opening sandwich.
There were other ancillary thoughts* as well:
‘Adults are just people who have been here longer than me on a different timeline, and are all just figuring things out as they go.’
‘You can go anywhere and do anything, but you can’t be and do all of It at once.’
‘I️ am not the center of the universe, and neither is anyone else.’
(*Give or take. I’m definitely misremembering and boosting my vocabulary since then.)
Going small is the best thing you can give yourself. It counterintuitively shows you how to appreciate big things even more.
What’s $10,000 dollars worth to someone who’s born into money? a cheap weekend.
But what’s 10,000 dollars worth to someone who started with nothing, waiting on tables for $2 an hour and eventually built up their wealth through effort? EVERYTHING.
What’s a new pair of jeans to the average person with a closet stuffed with clothing? Just another obstacle to climb over to get to the underwear.
But what’s a new pair of jeans to a minimalist? Precious.
What’s a 100 email subscribers to an influential leader you follow? Usually a rounding error.
But what’s a 100 email subscribers to someone just starting out? Pure excitement that people care and validation of there ideas.
No matter how big your dream is, or how great you want to be, it’s better to start small and stay in obscurity as much as possible while you can.
Going small is where creativity and your best life is born.
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner