I love people's stories. It's at the individual, human level that the world inspires me most.
Researching my upcoming trip to Cambodia, I recently came across a book called Music Through the Dark about a Cambodian man by the name of Daran Kravanh who survived the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in the 70's.
It was one of those books I read almost in a single sitting. It was a true story set in genocidal events so horrific I can't even vaguely fathom their reality. Yet at the same time there was a note of beauty and hope woven through.
At the end of the book, I realized that Daran now lives in Tacoma, about 30 miles south of Seattle. The short version of the story is that I ended up visiting Daran and his family two weekends ago.
As I sat there in his living room, I marveled that this man who had experienced so much horror in his life exuded so much love, compassion, and kindness. He said something that stuck with me. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I almost died so many times. But I'm here. I want to be positive with the time I was given, not negative. Why would anyone want to be negative?" Not those exact words, but you get the jist.
The message I took away was as powerful as it was simple. We all have a finite number of days left to live. We can either choose to focus on having a positive impact on the world around us, or a negative one. And when we really think about it, why would we spend those limited days we have making a negative impact?
That can be on a small scale or a large scale. It could be as small and simple as how we treat the random people we encounter as we go about our lives, or as large as how we choose to make a living.
In addition to my focus on passion, over the last year or so I have increasingly focused on the idea of how we can make a positive impact on the world with our work. My conversation with Daran reminded me why I feel so strongly about it.
How about you? How are you spending the days you have left?
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM