I had a moment yesterday when I asked myself a question – “What do I appreciate about the people I appreciate?”
A close someone suggested that the answer might be people who’d been through some kind of adversity. We discussed that for a bit. Getting through adversity was a proxy for strength of character. But, that wasn’t quite right.
After wrestling with this for a bit, the conclusion I came to was that it was all about people who were grateful for the experiences in this life and who cared about demonstrating their gratitude by doing good work. People who are grateful for the things that happen to them are not always very easy to find. (And, it is possible to link this to people who’ve experienced adversity of some sort. Going through difficult stuff often makes us more appreciative of the things that do end up working for us.)
But, in my experience, it is MUCH harder to find people who take that gratitude and do something about it. These folk realize how privileged they are and go out of the way to make their communities better. Just because they can. In giving to their communities, they embrace uncertainty, banish cynicism and just care enough to give whatever they do their best shot. And, as givers who give with purpose, they learn and grow tremendously from the process. Such people are special because they let their work do their talking. I love watching such folk in action, working with them, hanging out with them and then sharing stories of their work with anyone and everyone I meet.
It is one thing to be grateful. It is quite another thing to make that privilege count. So, when I find such people, I do my best to hold on tight.