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It's Not About Doing Everything Right

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

I am very inspired by Gandhi, but it occurred to me the other day that I know only two quotes from him. I also know only two specific events in his life, and both come from a reading passage that I helped a student with. What I do know is general, that he used nonviolent techniques to stand up to the British and help India become an independent country. What inspires me is not the specifics of his actions. It is his faith. He was willing to believe that he could make a difference.

Or Martin Luther King. How many specific quotes or events do you know? There's the "I Have a Dream speech." I only know the title. There's the march in Selma. Some of us know more. But mainly, we are inspired by his commitment to social justice, his bravery, his spirit, and his compassion. We're inspired by who he was.

Closer to home, I have a dear friend who passed away. She must have said many wise things, but I don't remember any except the one she said all the time: "Robin, my love, how are you?" (It came out "how ahhh you" because she was from New York.) How much she loved me - that's what I remember. I tend to agonize about saying and doing everything the right way, but I realized that I have no idea whether my friend did that. She loved me. That's what she did right. Who she was as a person impacted me and everyone. At her funeral, there was a line out the door.

Don't give in to aimless worry or insecurity or a general sinking feeling of failure because you're not sure whether you said or did something exactly right. If you thought about it and did it in love or apologized and learned when you didn't, that's good. If not, look inside yourself and figure out why.

I heard a saying: "Be the person you want other people to be." The good news is that every new day is a chance to do this. As you focus on who you are and not on the perfect words and actions, you'll have the kind of street cred that sinks into others' hearts and changes them forever. It's much more powerful (and more fun!) than trying to get everything exactly right.

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