How I Found Out That I Am Just as Full of Shit as Everybody Else
I, like pretty much every single other person on the planet, am almost completely full of shit.
Maybe not always, and in my case it’s certainly against my will, but the fact remains. I’m not nearly as smart or as good-looking as I think I am (although I’m working on it), many of my beliefs are almost certainly wrong, and the things I profess to care about are not borne out by my actions.
I’ve had an idea for an amazing nonprofit that I haven’t done ANYTHING with for over two years.
And yet, I keep telling people that I “run a nonprofit”. No I DON’T; I am completely full of SHIT, and my good intentions will never change that fact. Only my ACTIONS will help me expel some of the aforementioned shit “of which I am full.”
Very often, we’re not able to tell when we’ve become full of shit. We usually need help in order to recognize that fact, and as is sometimes the case, Facebook became the source of my awakening.
If you’re not familiar with the platform, the Facebook algorithm will bring up posts from your past that you might like to re-share. It’ll reach back in time and remind you of what you posted years ago and as a consequence, you’re confronted with incontrovertible evidence of how full of shit you are, or how funny your jokes are, if you’re lucky.
My own awakening was a post from two years where I mentioned my great idea for this revolutionary nonprofit that would connect local volunteers to local businesses who would then offer them discounts on products and services just for volunteering their time in the community. Essentially the time they were volunteering anyway.
It’s a great idea (really, I AM proud of it), and especially when I realized that we could get those same volunteers to DONATE some of their savings to the international humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders.
I was EXCITED about the prospect of changing the world, even if only in my own small way (who I am I kidding, I still believe it can change the world in a big way), and then I did…nothing.
Nothing at all happened for TWO YEARS!
I saw this Facebook post from my not-too-distant past and was immediately confronted with the stark reality of how unaligned I was with what I professed were my values. In a word, I was full of shit.
It’s a really awful feeling to acknowledge that you’re not living your life according to the beliefs that you claim to hold. And it wasn’t just my nonprofit…
I eat six meals a day (sometimes seven), when millions of children under the age of five will STARVE TO DEATH this year, and every year, until we as a global community do something to fucking stop it. Sorry, I get a little “animated” when I recognize my willful blindness in the face of needless suffering. The world is RICH, I am comparatively rich, and yet I remain full of shit.
This suffering does not go unnoticed by me, just un-acted upon.
It’s not that I don’t feel anything; I feel it ACUTELY. And yet…and yet…and yet…
I could donate more money to the causes and groups that I SAY that I care about, that I ADVERTISE to other people that I care about, but I don’t do enough. I don’t do enough, even though I THINK that I work really hard. I’m sure I do actually work very hard, but it’s very difficult to make oneself care about other peoples’ problems over and above one’s own.
How ELSE am I full of shit, you ask?
Well, I believe that family is incredibly important. I love my parents more than any other two people in the entire universe, but I don’t spend enough TIME with them! It’s as if I believe that they’re going to be around forever, that I won’t ever miss my chance. It’s as if I believe that there will never come a day when I reach out and they’re not there.
And don’t think that I don’t have ready-made excuses. I have plenty. I have myriad reasons why my own petty problems are more important than spending time with the people that I love, and why my money should go towards making me slightly more happy, when instead it could go towards making someone else SIGNIFICANTLY happier, for the same cost.
Part of it, of course, is that living is hard. Even the process of staying ALIVE can take a lot out of a person. I still can’t get over the sheer number of things we all need to do in the course of a day simply to stay alive and to remain useful to our fellow human beings. Staying alive is by definition selfish, and it’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with that. But it tends to crowd out the real needs of others, and the people we say we care about.
Yet another part of it is the unwillingness to stop and THINK about what we are doing and why. How much of what we do all day needn’t be done at all?
My guess is quite a bit.
My point here is that maybe there’s more to this whole thing than simple “full-of-shit-ness”, although for me, that’s a huge part of it. A part that I hate about myself and that I am desperately trying to change.
The good news is that it is COMPLETELY up to me. It’s true that the only thing people hate more than thinking is RE-thinking, but maybe I could give it a shot.
All the best,
Your friendly, neighborhood nightclub bouncer
PS. Good news! I’m less and less full of shit each and every day, and I’m finally making strides towards making my nonprofit a force for global good. You can check out the Volunteer Incentives Program here, and help me help volunteers to change the world. And if you want to donate to Doctors Without Borders directly, you can do so here. Thank you so much!