Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

How to Empty an Ocean like Mother Teresa

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The Leaky Faucet

Drip. Drip. Drip.

To me it is the most annoying sound in the world.

The kids can be screaming, the vacuum can be running, I can be dead asleep, but I still hear every single drop of water as it crashes against the bottom of the sink.

Every drop is small, but to me it sounds like a waterfall crashing against the rocks at the bottom.

This small drop of water is a nuisance to me, but to Mother Teresa, it is the way that she changed the world.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.       –  Mother Teresa

photo by Jeremy Kunz (Creative Commons)

Made For TV

It is not uncommon to wonder how much good it will do to do your little bit in this world.

We all ask the question, “Why bother?”

Does it really matter if I live a better story? Who will notice? My life will never be the subject of a made for TV movie. There will never be a book written about me or my work.

Not to mention how much there is to do in this world. If I pick up a single piece of trash, does it really matter? If I give $10 to that one charity, does it really help? If I smile, then will the world really be a happier place?

If I choose to live a better story, who cares?

We take on a “why bother because the problems are too big” attitude. Our dreams are suffocated by the sense of hopelessness it brings.

The Drop of the Day

Imagine taking on the issue of poverty like Mother Teresa. How do you solve that problem? How do you not become discouraged?

She didn’t let the enormity of the work overwhelm her but instead focused on what she could do each and every day. A drop is a drop is a drop.

And every drop is worth scooping out of the ocean because it is one bit less.

The temptation is to give up before we even get started, overwhelmed by how much there is to do. Intimidated by how much there is to learn. Overcome by the length of the journey that lies before us. Afraid of the pit that we see waiting for us.

The key to this journey is to start and to cover a small portion of the road every day. To take one small drop out of ocean.

Your job today? Just take that first step. If you have already started, then take the second step.

Wherever you find yourself, keep going. Don’t leave it for tomorrow. Don’t wait until it you feel prepared enough.

Take a drop out of the ocean today.

Looking Ahead, Not Behind

Mother Teresa wasn’t motivated by how much she thought she could accomplish.

She didn’t look back at all drops she had accumulated to compare them to the vastness of the ocean.

Instead she looked ahead, focused on how great of a problem she was dealing with, and she couldn’t rest until she had done her part to make a difference.

The beautiful thing about taking small drops of water out of the ocean is that over time, they all add up. Drops become buckets. Buckets become pools.

Maybe one day, all the pools added up together will become an ocean.

Want to make a difference? Be the person who takes a drop of water out of the ocean.

Do you ever become overwhelmed by how much there is to do? Did you make today count?

Tell us about your drop of water in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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5 Replies

  1. Every morning I have to decide to make the day count. It’s a conscious decision, something I have to say to myself before I swing my legs over the side of the bed. It’s so easy to let the day get away from you, and the world is unrelenting. There’s always more to do. But after a while you have to take a step back and take in the big picture and ask, How is this contributing to my story? 

    Overwhelming? Completely. But worth it? Undoubtedly. 

    Mother Theresa always reminds me that God will use the most unlikely characters for His stories. She was small, frail, and living in a third world country, yet her story grew  into an epic tale. It makes me want to be even more “unlikely” by this world’s standards.

  2. I often get overwhelmed with the many things I would like to do. Then I find encouragement in a blog post, a text, an email, or an uplifting conversation. Those things ENERGIZE ME. Then I can hopefully pass it forward and motivate, inspire or just LIFT UP others. 

  3. Jim, I like how you transfer the energy form yourself to others. Thanks for energizing me.

  4. I agree, Mother Teresa doesn’t look like much does she? But there is no doubt she had a huge impact.
    It’s definitely a choice we have to make it. We make it on a bigger level when we decide the big picture of our story, but the big picture never happens without a daily decision to pursue it. It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who has to make that decision every morning too.

  5. My pleasure. Thank you so much for the kind words Jeremy.

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