Have You Painted Someone Today?

Smiling Girl with Hands Covered in PaintWill the result of our life be buried with us? Sometimes we don’t think about the result of our life. We just go through life responding to what comes up, all the while working to make ourselves happy.

We pursue happiness, but I believe we are really seeking satisfaction. We often get confused between happiness and satisfaction. The key is that happiness focuses on ourselves and satisfaction comes from focusing and benefiting others.

We don’t get true satisfaction by focusing on ourselves. When we interact with the world we are often focused on a result for ourself or for others. (Note that we can be focused on a result for both us and others, but for simplicity, let’s just talk about it being “either/or”.) Imagine that when we do this we paint, with blue paint, the person we are building up. So we either paint ourself blue or we paint others blue. The blue paint is just a visual to help illustrate the point.

Painting Ourselves

We give ourselves some cool experiences and so we paint ourselves blue. Then we buy some cool gadgets for ourselves, and add some more blue paint. Then we engage in fun activities by playing some games, or spending time in our hobby, so we add more blue paint. All this is for ourselves. At the end of our life we’ve piled on all this blue paint. Then we’re dead. All we’ve accumulated gets scattered to the wind, and the blue paint is buried with us. There’s no blue paint left behind, and the rest of the world is pretty much as it was.

Painting Others

Now imagine that we instead focus much more on other people. We mentor someone, so we paint that person blue. We coach a soccer team, and paint the players blue. We spend some effort building houses with or donate money to Habitat for Humanity, so we paint some home owners. At the end of our life there will be a lot of other blue painted folks in the world – people we have positively affected. If others have been painted enough, they may even be able to start painting other folks around them, so our result multiplies. When we interact with people, who is getting “painted”, ourselves or others?

What is the result of our life? Who are you painting today?


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