(n.) The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Treat everyone you run into as if they’re going through something heavy. Because if you do, you’ll probably be right.
With everything we've been through the past couple of years, this is at the forefront of our minds. While everyone was impacted by COVID, some suffered much more than others. Now our heart strings are pulled by the unbearable travesties occurring in Ukraine. We are hurting for those suffering and the lives lost, but some are more directly impacted than others.
A big dose of kindness and empathy for one another is especially impactful right now. Nerves are on edge and emotions are raw. We can't know what someone else is going through. When someone is short with us, remember it’s not about us and don't take it personally.
Many of you know of our fondness for Carl Richards and his writing. Below is his story on Other People’s Burdens:
“I [was at] the airport when I found out the mother of one of my best friends had just died quite suddenly. I called my friend. He was crushed. We cried. And then I boarded the plane.
I thought about everyone else on the plane. I wondered if the airline employee scanning my boarding pass could see that I had been crying. I wondered if there would be room for my bag in the overhead bin. If the person next to me would be nice.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but think about how odd the situation felt.
All around me were strangers. I knew no one. And as far as I knew, no one had any idea what I was dealing with. I thought about the flight attendant, the man sitting next to me, the woman across the aisle. Did they have a sick child or a friend in the hospital? Were they on that plane in a race against time? What about the person who had been yelling at the gate agent?
As I turned away and stared at the Pacific Ocean through the little window from my seat on the plane, I was left with a bunch of grief and two big questions.
What burdens are all the people on this plane carrying? And how would I treat them differently if I knew?
I don’t know the answer to those questions… but I do know this: other people have burdens too.
Treat them like they do.”
To living your ideal life,
The Paradigm Team
Paradigm Advisors is a fee-only financial planning firm based in Dallas, Texas and Fayetteville, Arkansas. Paradigm Advisors provides comprehensive financial planning and investment management services to help clients organize, grow and protect their wealth throughout life’s journey. Paradigm specializes in advising well-established career executives through financial planning and investment management. As a fee-only fiduciary and independent financial advisor, Paradigm never receives commission of any kind. Paradigm is legally bound by certification to provide unbiased and trustworthy financial advice.