Just like those Liberty Mutual “Pay it Forward” commercials, on a daily basis our choices directly affect the lives of our friends, family, and even complete strangers. A simple smile can alter the course of someone’s entire day. It’s perfectly natural to get wrapped up in our own problems, careers, and lives and lose sight of those around us. Not all of us receive George Bailey’s chance to see what the world would be like if we had never been born; we don’t all have a Clarence in our lives. Instead, we must open our eyes and take a look for ourselves. How has your life affected both those around you and those far-removed from you?
Today I received a message from a complete stranger thanking me for my article “Why I Sing” in Classical Singer Magazine’s December issue (See also my blog post “Why I Sing”). She is a singer a few years my senior living and performing in Austria. While some might consider being an opera singer in Austria a charmed life, she too has been struggling with auditions, difficult and exhausting rehearsals, and attempting to remain financially stable. She stated that she had forgotten exactly why she chose this ridiculously challenging career, but my article touched her and rekindled her love affair with singing. To have someone take the time to actively seek you out and thank you is at once humbling and overwhelming. We never truly realize the vast impact that our life choices have on others. One night I was feeling unhappy with my voice, my career, and my life and I decided to write a blog post reminding myself why I sing and how music has impacted my entire life since infancy. On a whim, I submitted this article to Classical Singer Magazine and it was published and read by 25,000 subscribers, a humbling experience in itself. But then to receive positive feedback from not only my fellow singer friends, but also complete strangers is unbelievable. Who knew that my own “pep-talk” would later inspire countless of other struggling singers in the world? I certainly did not when I sat down to write this piece months ago.
In this era of multimedia and population booms, we are in constant contact with others….. whether we like it, or not. Friends, family, co-workers, teachers, students, customers, audience members, fellow drivers, salespeople, and complete and utter strangers: we all deal with them on a daily basis. For better or worse, one decision can create a chain reaction throughout the lives of others. The ripple affect of our life choices never ceases to amaze me.
I challenge you to face tomorrow with a new outlook on life. How are your decisions affecting those around you in ways that you never before realized? Could you have smiled at a stranger on the sidewalk? Could you have let someone go ahead of you in the grocery store line? Could you have waved someone on in an intersection rather than honking at them? Watch out for that karma. She’s as powerful a friend as she is a foe, so why not have her on your team? That’s what Clarence would do.