Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

Do You Realize How Inconsequential You Are?


I used to think I was somebody. Or I used to try to be somebody. Some days maybe I still do. By putting my writing out there. By hoping people will like it. By trying. But as I get older, my conclusions are widening on why I am here. Not in my home office. Or on my block. In the universe.

Some people don’t like to hear things like this. Because feeling important is all they have. But what if you didn’t have to feel that way? What if you could open up your mind to the vastness of the space we are in and realize that you aren’t sh*t.

You are a speck of dust. Almost every person on Earth doesn’t even know who you are. And what about the universe that’s out there? Do you think a highly structured life form on a distant planet cares about what you ate for lunch? Hint: they don’t. Neither do I.

It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s because you are very, very small. Like me. Like all of us. We are a pile of moving parts. Seven octillion atoms pushing us forward every day. And that’s just us. Just think of how many atoms are at that concert. In your city. In your state. In your country.

Do you realize how inconsequential you are?

How To Be Important and Inconsequential

Being inconsequential is a gift, not a curse. It’s not something to feel bad about. It’s an acknowledgement. A mindset. To lessen the burdens we all put on ourselves every day. It doesn’t mean you aren’t important. You just aren’t as important as you think you are.

You are important to those that love you. Full stop. What more do you need? Not what more do you want? You are allowed to have goals that involve helping other people who will then love you for it. But what more do you need? Why do you need more than being important to those that love you?

We are all masses interacting with each other every second of every day. And with us, the universe moves. We don’t know our role in keeping it going. But whatever role we play, it is tiny. Because there is so much more than us.

You are important, but you are inconsequential. There could be as many as three trillion large trees in our world. They are alive. What about blades of grass? Are we really more than a blade of grass when you think about it?

You can be sure that blade of grass in a field in Nebraska isn’t wondering whether people will like their latest Facebook post. That blade of grass is still. Appreciating the entire universe that surrounds it. Because it knows how inconsequential it is.

What about you?

On Time

Our universe has existed for roughly fourteen billion years. That means we are a minuscule blip on a timeline that will forget us. Not because we weren’t worthy of remembrance, but because the universe is too vast. Too old.

This moment of time, right now, is already gone.

Time is a gift. We don’t know how long we will remain. But instead of treating each second as a gift, we treat each second like we have an unlimited amount. But we don’t.

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” — Rabindranath Tagore

How important can we be? Fourteen billion years tell us that we are not important at all. And all we have is each moment to savor. Is that what you are doing?

Taking Stock Of Your Place In The Universe

You are just a participant. As am I. A pile of matter. Made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. We are complicated beings. Our systems are complex. And that’s just us.

One person standing in a field. With trees and grass. And weather. All that goes into making the sun rise and set. And rain. And wind. And you are worried about how much you mean to the world? You are actually less than a speck.

The colony of ants you pass by on your hike are a universe of their own. Building, carrying, interacting. Every flower that gets pollinated is part of nature’s ecosystem. Which is much more consequential than the route you take to work today.

You are that ant. That blade of grass. That speck of dirt in the corner of your house. You are inconsequential. Own it. Accept it. Understand it.

Take stock of your place in the universe. Realize how small you are. And free yourself from the burden of status anxiety. Because none of it matters. In a billion more years no one will be worried about that car you bought. Or your French tuck. Or your 29 posts on your Instagram story.

Because you aren’t that important. Neither am I.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you Jonathan. I am a speck, and that is brilliant. I am happy being a speck in a cosmos of unimaginable magnitude – it’s the daily slights which grate on the skin and mind. But to be a speck is a gift.

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