The author of this highly rated article is Paul du Toit, CSP.
Author, Mindset Shifter, Certified Speaking Professional
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I’ve often wondered just why people do things. Why they do good things, bad things, clever or stupid things, kind or unkind things or even thoughtful or thoughtless things.
Is it possible that anyone with a functioning mind would do anything for no reason whatsoever? Then why? Why do people take other people’s money, ideas, wives etc, Why do they take their bodies to beyond breaking point to achieve a sports goal. Why do they forfeit five years of spectacular TV viewing to obtain that degree. And why would they beat up a defenceless person for R60 and a cell phone? What on earth are people trying to achieve when the imbibe drugs or abuse alcohol? And why do we waste money on things we don’t need?
I think I know why. We do things that we believe at the time will help us to feel good about ourselves. We want to achieve the things that are in the forefront of our consciousness at any given time, be it to find a square meal before bedtime, get money, be recognised by a peer group or receive a prize.
However, once we’ve got it, whatever it is, we often still feel empty. Once we’ve attained that amazing goal it suddenly seems less important. We seem to lack the ability to celebrate our victories. Soon, the thing that was once so important becomes almost trivial as another goal catches our attention with the same results. It’s a bit like what my speaking colleague Douglas Kruger refers to as “The Hamster Wheel.”
My question to you is this: Is what you’re chasing going to get you what you really want. And when you get it, are you going feel a sense of deep fulfilment?
There is now more food available than we can eat – we just can’t seem to find ways to get it to the 3 billion people (almost half the world’s population) struggling to survive on R12 or less per day. We have a severe distribution problem. The amount of grain produced in the world today could provide each person on the planet with the equivalent of two loaves of bread per day. Our current food production could feed 7 billion people – compare that to the 6.2 billion people who live on the Earth. The wealth creation of the past 60 years has ensured that there is now more than enough money to go around, yet we are failing to distribute it fairly. Over one in five people, 1.3 billion live on R5 per day or less. Yet it is from this same world and the economies of the countries that we live in, visit and trade with, that we make our living.
But here’s what really blows my mind. Throughout the 1990’s more than 100 million children died from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spent on its military in just two days!
There can be no question that a person who earns an honest living is entitled to the fruits of their labours and is perfectly justified in aspiring to a decent standard of living.
But whatever it is you’re chasing, whatever is motivating you to get up and do it all again tomorrow, I’d like to sow a small seed today.
Often we may do what we do because we haven’t thought about what it is we should be doing. We do not directly control the taxes we pay that fund the wars that kill and maim, yet we have a say in what we do with the rest of our income. One day it would be wonderful to leave a world to future generations where they can live without fear of guns, poverty, disease or injustice. And we now have the technology wealth and resources to do just that. If we all played our part in just a small way, couldn’t you and I make a difference?
The idea of leaving the world a better place than I found it has always appealed to me, as I’m certain it does to you to.
Doesn’t it have something to do with what we focus on? Isn’t that the real reason to the question why?