Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Useful vs. Useless


There are needs and there are people who fill these needs. The needs are as vast and diverse as are the skills that humans possess to respond. How needs and skills match up is part organization and part personal motivation. But one thing is certain, if you wish to be useful you can. Each of us possesses an ability that is needed by someone somewhere. To be useful adds value on both sides of the equation. It clearly benefits the individual in receipt but also is formative for the offerer, forming her as a human being. To possess skills and not share them is self-destructive. Holding back holds you back. Equally, the inability to utilize one’s skills for the productive benefit of others because individuals or societies are unprepared or unable or unwilling to provide the opportunity is a frustration that rapidly leads to resentment and self-loathing. It is as important to be needed as it is important to be useful. Everyone’s work matters. Everyone’s job is worth doing well. Each person’s effort is as unique as each vision of the world, each touch, each thought, each deed. Each individual matters – from the first day of life to the last.

Find a need and fill it.
Ruth Stafford Peale

If heaven made him, earth can find some use for him.
Chinese proverb

Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.
Henry David Thoreau

If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed.
Thomas Wolfe

There’s no labor a man can do that’s undignified, if he does it right.
Bill Cosby

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.
Diane Arbus

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