We all want to succeed at the endeavors we go after. Those passionate and caring enough to attempt something altruistic want it even more. Because it’s not just about self-serving success, it’s about improving or saving lives.
It’s natural, in any altruistic endeavor to long for that moment when we can sit back and say, “Finally, after all of the struggling, we have done something good.” We want resolution for the project, campaign or issue we set out to rectify. We want to know it was worth it; that we made a difference.
The desire for that resolution is good and pure. It drives us towards excellence. But you have to be able to recognize the value of your work outside of its completion. When you’re trying to cure HIV, stop hunger or eradicate extreme poverty, it’s not likely you’ll reach much resolution in your lifetime.
I’ve embraced the fact that life is a journey, not a destination. The same tends to also be true of development work. I’ve learned to find joy in recognizing that the journey is still very fruitful, even if you’re not reaching your intended goals or experiencing complete resolution.
When you’re on an altruistic path, you’re bound to cause a lot of good along the way, even when you’re “not there yet” and even after (or during) a failure.
If you care deeply for humanity, your work will never be done. You’ll always have those Schindler moments where you think, “I could have saved just one more”. Take solace in the fact that you are living a good life and effecting positive change around the world. Your commitment as a petitioner of love (the root of all good things) creates a profound ripple effect around the world, whether you notice or not.
I always take time to notice and appreciate the relationships that are created along the way in any project. Often, those relationships, and their consequent ripple effects, are more profound than that actual project. This is something worth noting.
Don’t let yourself get down for missing the mark. Along the road to your desired impact, don’t forget to notice all the good that happens along the way. Notice it and use it as fuel to do more.