I was asked recently why I write. My response was simple, “I enjoy helping people, and I enjoy sharing ideas.”
The person thought for a moment and then said, “What makes you think you could make a difference? Aren’t you like a needle in a haystack?”
That has stuck with me for the last couple of weeks. What makes any of us think that we can make a difference in this world? Why should people pay attention to what we are doing? Is it truly possible, as Steve Jobs would have said, to put a dent in the universe?
A few weeks ago I was in Nashville and had the pleasure of having lunch with a great group of people hosted by Andy Traub and Jeff Goins. While eating, a lady asked Andy and Jeff how they created their audiences. How did they actually get people to read their blogs in the first place? She said she felt like a needle in a haystack.
I wasn’t the only one!
Andy and Jeff both shared some great information and essentially said that you have to be passionate about what you write and work hard.
Jeff finished his talk about getting noticed by confronting the needle in a haystack comparison. He pointed out that there are advantages to being a needle in a haystack. After all, you are the one and only NEEDLE in the haystack. You could be extremely useful to someone that needs a needle.
When the hay is shaken or moved, the needle gets jolted around. It tumbles and falls. It drops and flails, but eventually it will make it out of the pile of hay. Then and only then can it be useful.
A needle can do amazing things. It can be used to sow a button on your shirt or repair a king’s robe. It can assist in getting a splinter out of you finger or be used to put stitches in someone to save their life.
The needle doesn’t care. It is how the needle is used that makes it more or less meaningful.
To those out there that feel like that tiny needle in a mountain of hay. Know that you are unique. You are a needle in a world full of hay. You can impact the world, but only if you decide to leave the haystack.
A needle in a haystack will never perform life saving surgery or repair my son’s favorite jacket.
It will just lay there.
Maybe you are a needle in a haystack. Maybe you feel that you could never make a differnce in the world. Why would anyone listen to you?
I battle this as much as anyone. I struggle with thinking about how I am just one out of billions of people. What could I possibly do to make a differnce?
For me, I have learned to be comfortable helping the one to help the many. If you help enough people, your time will come.
Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
This isn’t to say that our only motivation to help others should be to get what we want. That isn’t it at all!
We help people because we are needles, and that is what needles do. Needles are used to fix things and save lifes. If you do that enough times, you might just find a few needles helping you in return.
Get out of the haystack. Discover your purpose. Get to work!
Have you ever felt like a needle in a haystack? What have you done or what are you doing to overcome this in your life?