You invest, I teach (Day #11)
I wasn’t planning on writing about this topic, but my friend Anca touched a nerve with her daily post.
Have you ever had a headhunter asked you what your life’s goal is? It’s a pretty hardcore question. One that I would argue, few people know how to answer.
I had to explain it some time ago and I couldn’t. With time I came to the conclusion that my life goal was helping other people. I realized that it’s no coincidence that I’ve devoted all my professional life to education.
It took me years to understand it. There are many different ways we can help others. Some people invest in ideas, others fight for what’s right, others teach.
I became a teacher by accident. I always thought I was a terrible teacher, but my students believed in me. They learned. They valued my classes. They asked me to keep doing it.
It took me a while to understand what teaching was about. Most people think it’s about educating a large group of individuals. Not for me. I do my best to communicate what I know. My desire is to share my knowledge so that others can use it to better their lives.
But one day this changed. I started getting private students that came to me to thank me for my teachings, to tell me how influential it had been. Old students would get in contact with me after several years, just to tell me how I changed their life.
“My path wouldn’t be what it is without you. Thank you.”
I can’t begin to describe how that feels. It’s an incredible feeling, and also a very scary one. I suddenly realized I was touching people. It wasn’t just teaching; it was knowing you had the power to rebuild people’s futures. That’s a huge responsibility.
Your impact isn’t measured in the number of people you try to influence, but on those that you truly touch.
What I’ve learned is that your impact isn’t measured in the number of people you try to influence, but on those that you truly touch. Changing someone’s life can and will set up a chain reaction that will touch other people’s life. This interconnection we all have will make it spread. Your touch will be felt in remote regions.
I don’t feel desperate anymore because I can’t help more people. Nowadays I focus on those that I can help. I don’t dwell too much on those that I tried and failed. There is an excellent Theosophical quote that goes like:
“For when the disciple is ready, the Master is ready also.”
I’ve experienced this feeling many times, both as teacher and student. Both sides need to be ready, and you just can’t force it. There are teachings I’ve only understood in my adulthood, and they changed my life.
In the same way, I’ve had people coming to me three years after we first met to tell me how they just understood what I meant by this or that.
When the time is right, the heart-mind will bloom in some people.
As I see it, I teach to help others learn new things that can be useful for them. But I also teach for the heart-mind (Kokoro). When the time is right, the heart-mind will bloom in some people. They will become incredible human beings, and they will go on and help others.
Change doesn’t happen instantly; it happens gradually. Always. Relentless. Don’t rush it, don’t force it. Be one with the universe’s speed and your touch will surpass all and any barrier.