I have always been one that loves a good quote. It will never cease to amaze me just how much wisdom is out in the world, just waiting to be discovered! Once you find those magical words; it is a true treat to see how you can apply them to your life. There is no end to the number of quotes out there; and there is no limit to how we can improve our lives.
Conducting some research that had absolutely nothing to do with my blogging hobby sigh, (still an unpaid amateur); I had one of those profoundly moving moments where I found yet another perfect quote. “Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts.” Supposedly these words were inscribed on a plaque that hung in Albert Einstein’s office at Princeton University. Unfortunately, I was not able to ascertain who the quote is attributed to.
As I let the words swirl around in my mind; I was absorbing the ingredients for a wonderful recipe that was equal parts logic and abstract. The idea that there are events and situations in our lives that cannot be quantified appeals to my artistic side as a blogger, writer, and author. By the same token, the thought that there may be little value in those things that are measurable feeds the frustrated philosopher in me. The fact that a scientist, who made his mark in history by quantifying aspects of the universe, had those words hanging in his office made me feel warm all over!
I feel that the second portion of the quote is more easily mentally assimilated than the first. “Not everything that can be counted counts.” For most of my adult life, I was busy keeping score; a grand materialistic tally, if you will. I had to be earning more than my peers. My house had to have more square footage than my colleague’s. My car had to be faster and more expensive than the neighbor’s. It was quite a bit of work, but I lived to know that I was the winning team on the scoreboard of life!
One day I suddenly lost interest in counting. What turned my outlook on life completely around? It was yet another quote! Paraphrased, this one had to do with “will any of it matter one hundred years from now?” I envisioned just how ridiculous my tombstone would look with an inscription that read, “He earned millions, lived in a mansion, and drove a high performance sports car!” I would not blame any visitor to the cemetery if they kicked my grave marker over!
But what of the first part of the Einstein’s office quote? “Not everything that counts can be counted.” What if my final resting place was marked with a quite different head stone? “He gave of himself to all humanity, he cared for even those he never met, and through his words he touched the lives of millions!” It is often that which cannot be measured that has most profound effect on our lives.
When I went to sleep that fateful day where counting no longer mattered; that which could not be counted took on new meaning in my life! I dreamed of helping the helpless, of nurturing the hungry, of touching those who no longer had hope. I imagined that my gifts were being shared with the world. My blessing, sometimes a curse, is the ability to draw deeper meaning out of the ordinary and mundane; I simply see things that others cannot. It is by no means intended to be a boast; it is what it is, like some are born to be musical prodigies or great physicists.
The only missing element was just how to share what I possessed that could not be counted; that which truly counted! It was shortly thereafter that I discovered blogging. Unlike the books I have authored, blogging allows for liberating free-flowing thought within a compacted space. It forces the blogger to cover a great amount of terrain with a limited number of words. All I had to do was summon the courage to put my words out for the world to see. The result? Over 10,000 of you have read my words. You have shared how my words somehow touched your life. In short, I am doing what truly counts!
What about you? What gifts do you possess that are deeply buried in a strong chest, locked away by the chains of your own fear? Stop counting how many different ways you could be criticized, mocked, or challenged. It does not count. What counts is that you are willing to share your gifts with the world, even though they cannot be counted!
Gee, I wonder what plaque Stephen Hawking has hanging in his office?