This post originally appeared here at my personal blog, Primility.com.
This past Saturday, White Sox pitcher Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history, much to my excitement as a rather dedicated fan of the Pale Hose.
Scott Merkin, who does a terrific job covering the White Sox beat for the team’s official website, took the opportunity tell the story of a trip Humber took this past December to impoverished areas of the Philippines and the impact it had on the pitcher.
White Sox pitcher Phil Humber. (By Keith Allison on Flickr, derivative work: Muboshgu via Wikimedia Commons)
I highly recommend the entire article, which you can read here.
This excerpt is what stuck out the most to me:
“In this country, I think we take so much for granted,” Humber said. “We kind of have the American dream of how my life is supposed to look: ‘I’m supposed to have this and that and if I don’t, I’m not happy with it.’ You go over there and they have nothing. You see every once in a while a McDonald’s or Starbucks, but that’s just the minority going over there.
“Most are living with no running water, no plumbing, no electricity. It’s super hot over there, but there is no air conditioning and they are bathing in the streets. Little babies are running around naked but at the same time they are happy and thankful for what they do have.
“… We think we need stuff to be happy, but what you really need is relationships. It was neat. It had a huge impact on me.”
Through baseball, Humber was able to build short-term but special relationships with the kids that he was instructing.
“When you can build a relationship with someone, they can tell you their story and you can relate to them your story,” Humber said. “It’s really neat to see the bonds that can be created just in a short time.
I was particularly moved by the line “…what you really need is relationships.”
I could not agree more.
When all is said and done, all of our lives will be marked by the impact we had on other people and the number of relationships we were able to build. This requires genuinely caring about others and committing the time to do it.
I am realizing this more and more as I get older, and it’s not always something I’ve been great at keeping in perspective.
When you work a lot, and when much of that work is done writing in relative solitude, it can be easy to retreat unto yourself and lose focus on others and relationships.
Though the particulars for you may be different, I’m sure you can relate in some sense.
There are so many distractions competing for our attention, and so many different directions in which we all get pulled, that it can be a real challenge to remember that so much of it just doesn’t really matter.
Ultimately, only one thing matters: people.
Our relationships with people. Spending time with people. How we treat people. Our genuine willingness to help people. Our ability to empathize with people.
These are the actions, thoughts, and emotions that create real happiness and fulfillment, so much more than any thing ever could.
If I sound like I’m preaching, it’s because I am a little bit; but not to you. I’m preaching to myself.
One of my personal goals in developing the concept of primility and this site is to create a consistent reminder in my own life of these things that I sometimes forget.
It’s all about balance, and ultimately that’s what the concept of primility really is.
For me, that means finding a way to better balance my goals at work and for personal development with the need to nurture current relationships with family and friends and to cultivate new ones.
That means getting away from the office, getting away from the computer and spending time with people. (You know, actual human people. Not Facebook accounts and Twitter handles.)
I’m always happier when I do, and what’s ironic is that I end up being more motivated, efficient, and effective at work as well.
Funny how that works out, huh?
Actually, it’s not funny. It’s life. It’s the essence of our humanness.
We’re social people with social needs and desires that must be satisfied before almost anything else, whether we acknowledge them or not.
Don’t let yourself believe any fallacy, especially self-proposed, that suggests otherwise. The long-term impact on your life will not be positive.
If you don’t believe me, ask Phil Humber. I’d bet he’d agree.
And he is “perfect,” after all.
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