Here’s an interesting and useful analogy I picked up from Steve Pavlina’s article Waking Up.
On an individual level, you’re like a single cell in a large body of humanity. You are connected to other cells: your friends, family, coworkers etc., in a local cell cluster. Your interactions are mostly limited to your local cluster and you focus on helping them out. There are different types of cells specialized for different tasks, just like in your own body (brain cells, heart cells, skin cells etc.)
The question is: Are you approaching life from the perspective of a cell or the body?
The individual approach
From an individual perspective, a cell wants sugar, oxygen and to eliminate waste. But how concerned are you about your own individual cells? For example, do you care how many skin cells you kill when you scratch an itch? Or liver cells on a Saturday night out? 😛
Sure, your body supplies individual cells with the stuff they need. But it cares about certain cells more than others (e.g. brain cells over skin cells). When resources get scarce, which cells is your body gonna starve first? Are you a critical cell in the body of humanity?
How would your body respond if a cell said “I just want to eat food and reproduce like crazy”? That might seem fun from his perspective, but now you have a tumor to deal with. 😀
Are your goals and desires aligned with the body or the cell? I’ll quote Steve directly:
“Imagine asking a cell in your body what he’s doing with his life, and he talks about the Bloodstream Marketing course he’s taking and how excited he is about all the extra sugar he’ll earn from his efforts. Oh boy!”
Individual level goals generate individual level resources and little attention from humanity. In general, you probably care more about the health of your body as a whole, but don’t think much about any specific cell. In the same way, humanity cares more about itself as a whole as opposed to paying attention to each and every individual.
The holistic approach
If you look at life from the perspective of humanity as a whole, your priorities might shift a bit. What would happen if you start focusing on improving the circumstances of the whole body instead of yourself as a cell? People who expand their contribution to include humanity generally enjoy more resources and support.
Start focusing on what you want for humanity as a whole. A healthy body has healthy cells. Which problems would you like to solve for us? War? Poverty? Disease? Inequality? Environmental issues? Health issues? Technological issues? It’s your choice. Make us proud. 😀
Also, don’t take this analogy too literally, it’s meant to shift your perspective and challenge your assumptions. And seriously, read the original article. It’s worth it. 🙂
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