A Life That Matters Is All About Being Nice”
Editorial by Robert
I get to meet a lot of university students who are
studying to become teachers. I also have contact with a number
of university and college graduates who are desperately
searching for a chance to begin a meaningful career. Some of
the people I speak to are actually at the beginning of their
One of the
things that become clearly evident as I get to know these
people is that each of them sincerely wants to make a
difference in the lives of others. They want to “matter”
to others and to do wonderful things with their life. I love
being around such youthful exuberance. Young people have
beautiful dreams and are not afraid of anything. Life is like
a huge Christmas gift that they can open each and every day.
I also get
to talk to a lot of “older” people from my own generation.
Many people who were born as part of the “baby boom”
generation are also desperately searching for meaning in their
life. Indeed, many of us look back on our life and wonder what
it all meant. What have we done to make a difference? What
have we done that “matters” in the whole scheme of things?
questions were on my mind the other day when I read a short
passage about a lady named Marta, who was also searching for
something. She found it while traveling on a bus. Here is her
Marta was a
hard-working single mother. When her minister sermonized about
"living a life that matters," she worried that
working to raise her kids and going to church wasn’t enough.
So while on the bus to work one day she made a list of other
jobs she could do and volunteer work she could try.
elderly woman who was on the bus that morning, saw the worry
on Marta’s face and asked what was wrong. Marta explained
her problem. Sylvia said, "Oh my, did your minister
actually say you weren’t doing enough?"
Marta said. "But I don’t know how to live ‘a life
that matters’ I want to make a difference in the life of
don’t have to change jobs or do more volunteer work,"
Sylvia consoled her. "It’s enough that you’re a good
mother. But if you want to do more, think about what you can
do while you are doing what you already do. It’s not about
WHAT you do, but HOW you do it."
don’t understand," Marta said. "I sell hamburgers.
How do I make that significant?"
many people do you deal with every day?" Sylvia asked.
to three hundred."
what if you set out to cheer, encourage, teach, or inspire as
many of those people as you could? A compliment, a bit of
advice, a cheerful hello, or a warm smile can start a chain
reaction that lights up lives like an endless string of
that’s just being nice," Marta protested.
said Sylvia. "Niceness can change lives.”
looked at the old woman. "What do you do?"
a housekeeper until I retired," Sylvia said. "Now I
just ride the bus talking to people."
repeat a section from this story: “If you want to do more,
think about what you can do while you are doing what you
already do.” What a profound philosophy. If you want a
slogan to live by this is it. “THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO
WHILE YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU ALREADY DO”. This is a rule
that EVERYBODY can live by, regardless of what they are doing
with their life.
today’s story Sylvia spends her day riding the bus talking
to people just like Marta. All Sylvia is doing is being nice,
but as she said, “Niceness can change lives.”
And so, no
matter where you are in your life right now, you CAN make a
huge difference and you CAN live a life that matters, simply
by “thinking about what you can do while you are doing what
you already do.” Just by being nice to other people, you can
change their whole approach and outlook on life: just by being
forget, “It’s not about what you do, but how you do
it." that will make you stand out from others and will
allow you the satisfaction of knowing that you did indeed live
a life that matters.
Have a good