Henry David Thoreau was quoted as saying, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”, but there is a second part to this famous quote. “And go to the grave with the song still in them”, is the second half, but what “song” is he talking about, and what does the quote truly mean?
Well, the way I’d interpret the first half of the quote is that everyone has their own struggles, and each person’s is different. Some people may be driven to despair by money challenges, others because they have no free time to enjoy their life because they’re always working, and yet another person may be worried about their health. I’m sure you have your own despair, we all do, and most of us just keep it to ourselves, and remain, “quiet”.
As for the second, lesser known half of Thoreau’s quote, here’s how I see it. I once heard someone ask this question, “Where on earth can you find the most unfulfilled dreams?” Answer, “In a cemetery.” That’s the, “song still in them.” Billions of people never fulfill, much less attempt to, fulfill their dreams, and those dreams, their “song” if you will, get buried along with their corpse. It’s morbid, but it’s true.
That being said, you may wonder why so many dreams, and aspirations, end up in the grave. I believe that its’ because of well meaning people that try to protect us from disappointment. Our parents, relatives, school teachers, and friends; although, well intentioned, tell us that we cannot live our dreams, and we eventually give up on them.
I coach little league baseball, and I always tell the kids that I coach to dream big, and to see themselves succeeding on, and off the field. “Really dream big”, is what I tell them. “Like when you were 4 or 5 years old, and you would dream of having a house with a swimming pool, for yourself, and your best friend, and one for your mom, and one for your dad, and each of your cousins, and…”. Well you get the idea.
The desire to dream big is slowly beaten out of us by society. At some point you tell someone about one of your dreams or aspirations, and they tell you that it’s stupid, or it’s impossible. Then you try to share again, and you’re told to stop being a fool, and come back to reality. You may try one more time, and you’re told that you’re wasting your time thinking about things that will never happen. Finally, the next time that you have a desire for something better in your life, or a big dream, you keep it to yourself, and tell no one, and it too will die with you, when your heart beats its last.
As network marketers, we have a responsibility to help others dream big, and really reach for, and attain, their aspirations. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Along with great power, comes great responsibility.” You, Mr. or Ms. network marketer, have the power to change peoples lives with the business model that you’ve chosen to implement, and in turn, you have a responsibility to help others with this power. This brings me to a story that I learned from Mark Januszewski, while taking his Go90Grow, network marketing course, called, The Sin of the Desert.
The Sin of Desert story goes like this:
In the desert you have dunes, in other words, the landscape is not all flat. I’m standing on a rise, and I just came up from drinking water at an oasis. I suddenly see some people, about 500 feet away, that have obviously been without water for several day, they’re searching for water, and they’re dying of thirst. I then consciously choose not to tell them. That’s The Sin of the Desert.
We have a responsibility as network marketers to help others. We can, using this business model, quench other people’s thirst for a better life, and help them to really achieve their dreams, and their hearts desire. Helping others, we can create a ripple effect, where people you helped, are helping others, who are helping others, and isn’t that how large organizations are built?
Lastly, think again about The Sin of the Desert story and consider this. Sometimes we chicken out when we go to call people about our business opportunity (the oasis). We think about it, but we never even pick up the phone to dial their number. The people that you are reluctant to call are living lives of quiet desperation (dying of thirst) in some shape or form, you continue to drink from the oasis, and you have the ability to help them. What will your decision be?