Monday, June 16, 2008

Changing The Little Things

I often write a post and then feel a bit bad, because I'd like to find a positive example of what I'm talking about. It's easy to just tear down bad arguments, but it's sometimes hard to say what I'd like to see in their place. Usually this is because there are whole lot of things one can put in the place of the bigger-than-big, worldchanging silliness. It's matter of appropriate perspective. Alice's lessons from the farmer's market show the perspective, and the goodness that comes of it.

A few of her lessons:

1. There are really really lovely people out there, who live simple lives and don’t expect greatness to come upon them in any way, and whose happiness is quite palpable. I love these people. They have a huge amount of energy, are bright and healthy and to me extremely admirable: I want to be like that too! Ha. I conclude that happiness is simple. But not easy for all of us to do.

3. Mundane work like baking and being on a market stall, the sort of work that isn’t about big ideas or excitement or intellectual/creative genius, is enjoyable and satisfying to do. The boring parts are when the work stops. Five minutes with no customers feels like an hour waiting for a bus. An hour of non-stop customers feels like five minutes.

4. It’s really fun making people happy. I love people who love my baking. I love the quiet kid who comes every week for his single permitted sweet thing and it’s the same thing every week. I love the people who take a sample, walk by and then say oh my god and come back to find out what they just ate. All that is more fun than dollars too.

I recommend reading the whole thing, and if you are presented with a choice of teaching something like this, or exhorting people to be world-changers, I'd suggest teaching this list. There is more fulfilment here, and world changing besides, than the bitterness of former revolutionaries who never got to see the utopia they were working for.

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