The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts. – Virgil
What does that mean?
To me, this quote is about contribution. It does not matter what a person knows or does not know. It is, instead, about what they are willing to do.
There is a tremendous amount of knowledge in any individual, some of it useful, some of it less so. But that knowledge isn’t of much use until it is put into action.
A library is full of knowledge, but it does not take action. The world is far more interested in the people who use the library to gain knowledge and then do something with it.
Does the world remember who was the head librarian at any library from any point in time? Or does the world remember, for better or worse, the people who did things, and changed the world from their effort?
Why is contributing important?
This quote is quite broad, and I would like to keep it that way. How do you define a contribution to the world, or the people of it? Is this blog a contribution? After a fashion, yes. But so is planting a tree, cleaning trash at a park, or volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen.
How much knowledge does it take to pant a tree? Not a lot, other than selecting the proper tree for the climate and soil, you just dig a hole and drop it in, right? Well, it’s slightly more complicated, but you get the idea. People might not care tomorrow that the tree was planted. But what about in 50 years? Will that contribution matter then?
The same can be said for picking up trash or doing many of the tasks at a shelter or soup kitchen. It isn’t the knowledge that is needed, nor welcomed. It is the action, the act of doing, especially actions taken to help another that matter.
And the actions matter to everyone. The person benefiting enjoys what has been done. The person doing the action should also enjoy the act, or at least the result of it. And the rest of the people around them should feel better knowing that they contributed as well, each in their own way.
Can you imagine a life without contributing to the greater good in some way, shape or form? I cannot. Contribution, in my opinion, is one of the most significant things in life. I find contribution to be a significant facto in feeling calm, peaceful and happy. Is that your experience as well?
Where can I apply this in my life?
We can contribute in so many ways, in so many aspects of our lives, it really is up to you. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at doing? If you can find an overlap between the two, you have a prime candidate for what to do, right?
But not everyone has talent. What then? Well, one can learn. Find something you would like to do, and ask if they can help you become better at it. Or you can take a class, read a book, or hit the internet for some basic clues. It will take more than that to be an expert, but do they need an expert, or someone willing to do something?
Not everyone has the time. What then? There is always the TV and other things which we do that takes up time. We could take a moment and figure out which is more important to us, reruns of Gilligan’s Island, or other guilty pleasures we watch. What other activities could be eliminated or curtailed?
Not everyone has the money. What then? Not all contributions are of cash or valuables. Nearly all of what we have discussed to this point has been about ways to contribute that didn’t involve cash. Not that there is anything wrong about that, but it is one way to help out.
For some people, their life has traded time for money, and they have more money than time. Much of their contribution may well be in cash. Others have more time than money, and their contributions may well be strictly of their time.
Everyone is different, and the needs of the world are ever changing. Even if you can’t help the whole world, you can help someone. Whether planned or on the spur of the moment, every little contribution helps to lift both you and the other person(s) at least a little bit.
If everyone could contribute, imagine how much better off the world would be. Even the contributions made by our fellow humans is changing the world into a better place. And there is room for us to help as well.
The world is calling for contributors. The question isn’t will you answer the call, but how you will answer the call, and when.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/v/virgil162987.html
This quote is also attributed to Booker T. Washington (when in doubt, I take the older person as the more likely source, although the Booker T. Washington version is citeable, Virgil may have said it first)
Photo by Howard Lake