“Don’t be self-centered. The world is much bigger and much more interesting than you are. If you spend your time thinking g about yourself, you forego most of what exists.”
The quote above is from Mark Helprin in the book, Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two. James Harmon, the book’s author, solicited advice from independent film stars, writers, philosophers, and creative individuals, avoiding seeking the advice of celebrities and people who we might decide are highly successful based on their bank account.
I love this quote because it speaks to our position in a world that is full of interesting people and amazing places. For me it is easy to get settled into a routine where I focus on what I am doing on a day to day basis, and I begin to get stuck in a rut. What Helprin’s quote is urging us to do is to look out into the world and constantly explore, even if that means we are just reading, listening to podcasts, and exploring what others are doing and thinking.
Helprin’s quote tells us that our lives will be much more fulfilling if we can focus on others and see the world objectively rather than constantly worrying about ourselves and fixating on our personal being. Worrying about our problems, feeling pity for our selves for our situation, complaining about our work, or feeling bored and stuck in a rut comes about when we close ourselves to the outside world. When we put others first, focus on meeting new people, and can find a way to be grateful for the opportunities we have, then our lives begin to become more meaningful. By interacting with others and focusing on them, their interests, and trying to discover more about the world we see our place in the world with a more positive light, and we can become excited about what is going on around us.