4.1. Making Peace with Your Limits

Figure out how to make a difference now, within your life as it actually exists. 

I don’t believe that most people don’t care about what’s going on in the world.

I think our good intentions get diverted, thwarted, or go awry somehow.

We tie ourselves in knots with our strategies, with our ideologies, and with our group warfare.

But there’s another thing that trips a lot of people up.

Our own lives.

We’re busy. We have our own burdens and hardships to deal with.

How do we handle all that stuff and make the world a better place at the same time?

If you feel you struggle with that dilemma, then the next several videos are for you.

And I think the trick to balancing your own life with your desire to make the world around you a better place starts, first and foremost, with a good understanding of your limits.

We only have so much time, so much energy, so much information, so much money.

We only know so many people. We only have so much brainpower. We only have so many skills and capabilities.

We only have so much control over the people around us, our environment, and what happens in the world.

Of course, we can gain knowledge, money, and time if we do certain things…but that just means we’re just a little less limited than we were before.

Being limited is the human condition. We’re never without limits.

So you’d better understand that, and make your peace with it!

We don’t ever get to do everything we want. We have to make hard choices about how to work within our limits, and how best to expend our limited resources. That’s what makes life hard.

I can’t tell you specifically whether or not you’re doing the best you can, or how to do a better job than you’re currently doing. But I can tell you that when it comes to balancing your own personal stuff and your desire to make the world a better place, people tend to make one of two mistakes.

They either overinvest social justice, and underinvest in their own personal well-being.

Or—far more commonly—they’re too wrapped up in their own stuff…and never get around to doing something that really makes a difference.

I bet you already know which of those two errors you’re more likely to make.

So be aware of that.

And when you catch yourself out of balance…fix it!

If you’re too much of a do-gooder for your own good, remind yourself there’s only so much you can do. Remind yourself that your personal well-being is important too. Remind yourself that being a bundle of stress and exhaustion doesn’t help anyone.

If you’re one of those people who never seems to get around to making a difference, remember: you’re always going to be limited. You’re always going to have to make hard choices. There’s never going to be a future in which you have all the time in the world to make a difference. That’s just not how it works.

So…you need to figure out how to make a difference now, within your life as it actually exists.

Within your limits as they actually exist.


This is the 61st in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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