Monday, October 13, 2008

head or heart?

I once had a friend who made me feel a little self conscious and stupid. He asked me how many original, creative thoughts I had everyday. He told me that he could never date/marry someone who didn't fill their head with unique and interesting things on a daily basis. He made it seem (in my self conscious mind) that people who didn't constantly fill their life with new ideas were inferior and not really interesting people.

He thought that if a person did not use their personal free time to come up with innovative thought that it was a waste of time.

This idea has stuck in my craw for the last 3 years. Every once in a while I'll find myself drifting back to that conversation and wondering, Am I truly a waste because I'm not constantly coming up with inventive ideas?

I find that most of my errant, free thoughts are filled with people. The ones I love, the ones I miss, the ones I want to talk to, the ones I've learned from. Are these thoughts less valuable than the ones my friend would esteem?

The weekend before last there was a worldwide conference for my church. A lot of great presentations were made and I really felt renewed in my commitment to be a better person. The advice that stands out to me the most was this:

Never let a problem to be solved become more important that a person to be loved.

I can't tell you how validating that one little sentence was to me. It felt like the discomfort I'd fostered in my little insecure heart melted away. I realized that, even if I'm not coming up with inventive solutions for the problems of the world at least I'm trying to love the people around me.

And in the end, I'd rather be known as someone who cared than someone who created.

Would you?

Oh how my little Ayn Rand loving self from 6 years ago would cringe at this post.....


Anonymous said...

I don't often post but you have touched my heart. I truely believe that the person that we create here (self) is what is going to be our lasting contribution. Am I going to leave this earth a better place because I was honest, loving, fair, just, faithful so on so on. Each and every thought that I have to that end is new, creative and problem solving. I worry that there is too much effort put on changing the world and not enough effort put on changing self. Self is really the only thing I can change after all is said and done. If I worry about changing the world I become depressed and lost. If I work at changing self I do change the world.

Anonymous said...

They aren't mutually exclusive and I think that's the true thesis of your post - to love is to create.

Lindsay said...

I used to have a good friend who would say those types of things to me. I spent a few years thinking he was just SUCH an interesting person and wanting to be around him. And, to be honest, he WAS interesting. It finally dawned on me though that he was just flat out NOT NICE. He made me feel bad about myself (and I'm a GOOD person - I know I am!). So the fact that you too had a "friend" like this hits on that same nerve that my friend used to hit. You can be interesting and still be nice. And comments like your friend made to you are just NOT nice.

As a sidenote, I spent a good deal of time during my senior year of high school debating with the stupid boys who used Ayn Rand as an excuse to be mean to people. I almost wish I remembered enough about all those books to still be capable of holding an intelligent debate about them. ah well. :)

Robyn said...

Ayn Rand and her "Virtues of Selfishness" definitely have their place... Without them I don't think we would have the elite athelete (see Lance Armstrong!), or all that many true advances in science and technology. I think many people struggle with her ideas at some point in their lives.

But I don't think the head and heart have to be mutually exclusive... there are many amazing people in the world who have succeeded in advancing society both academically and humanitarianly(?)see Greg Mortenson of "Three Cups of Tea".

Since I know I'll never be either Mother Theresa or Lance Armstrong, I think it's probably okay to strive for a balance, but at my own level. And I think the advise that you took from your conference is probably a good line to draw!!

Al said...

I doubt anyone truly has a new, original, unique thought . . . and if you think you've hatched one, the odds are great that someone, somewhere, beat you to it. All I ask of people is that they use their noggins and think, not just let simple slogans and labels like "liberal" or "conservative" lead them astray. I like your point that being known as someone who cared will be an important legacy.