Leaving Your Mark

I am not sure in what context did Elvis, the king of rock, uttered these words, but it doesn’t seem like something he’d say. It really doesn’t matter who said it, these words touched me and has left me pondering on how we leave our mark based on who we are. We leave a bit of ourselves in everything we do and these are rooted in our choices, motives, actions which are all tied up strongly with our values.

As an example let’s take Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Everything Ebenezer did left his fingerprints of greed whereas everything Bob did bore his fingerprints of compassion and duty. Similary each of us in our own stories leave our uniqe fingerprints through our actions based on our values.

All of us apply our values to our decisions every day. Most of us do it subconsciously and aren’t aware of it. If you strongly value honesty, would you do something shady at work or tell a lie just to cover up for someone else? However often we are at a conflict, at crossroads with our choices. At times not being completely honest will do someone a world of good. Then what do we do?

Also we leave our mark even in the smallest of ways. Holding the door open for someone, helping an elderly person with their shopping bag, picking up some litter, taking the time to acknowledge the efforts put in by your colleague etc. Just a smile can brighten up someone else’s day. However great or small your actions, you have the power to make a difference. The starfish story illustrates this well.

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a small boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The little boy replied, “I am saving all the starfish that have been stranded on the beach. The surf is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them back, they will die.” 

The man looked around and noticed that there were miles and miles of beach and literally thousands of starfish. 

He looked at the beach again and then at the small boy and said, “Well, you won’t make much of a difference, will you?”

After listening politely, the little boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea. Then, looking up, he smiled and said to the man, “I made a difference for that one.”

At the end of the day, it is your life, your values, your choices. What fingerprints you leave is up to you!

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