One of my favorite songs of all time is a song by George Harrison called, “Within You Without You.” For those who are not huge fans of The Beatles, this song is on side 2 of the groundbreaking album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which was released on June 1, 1967. Although this song, like all songs by The Beatles, has been analyzed for its meaning for almost 50 years, and may mean different things to different people, its meaning to me is that all of us are important in making contributions to human kind, but none of us is all important, such that “life goes on, within you and without you.” I think about this songs in many contexts. In the context of working at the company I co-own with my spouse, every time an employee, a client, or a vendor relationship is severed, regardless of the reason, our company continues to exist, often transcending the loss of 1 person in more positive ways than we ever imagined. In the context of life outside work, it is important to keep in mind that, regardless of one’s perceived greatness (or lack thereof), one person does not usually make a big difference in the grand scheme of life. It is important to point this out in our increasingly self obsessed, narcissistic lives; regardless of our achievements, life, for the most part, will go on both with, and without, us. Thank you, George Harrison, for bringing this to my attention all those years ago.
My take on this topic is similar to Melissa’s, in trying to keep a focus on where we fit as individuals in the world. We have certainly observed some clients, and occasionally employees, whose sense of self importance did not appear to match their other characteristics, including their contributions to the world. That is, they did not live up to the impressions they wanted to create. And, this is also a realization that, no matter what any of us do, barring the end of the world or heroic acts, life will probably go on for everyone, regardless of what one individual does. How smoothly or pleasantly things turn out can be influenced more easily by some individuals, but, in general, we are all part of a big world which is constantly changing. Keeping up with it is tough. None of this is to say not to try to make a difference on a small or large scale. It is more a realization that things will still happen even sometimes when we try – the tides are beyond control. It is better to realize this and float with the tides, than to fight them, although sometimes they can be redirected at least slightly.