The value in the perfect 20 metre circle

Don’t think what you do is unimportant.

When we meet people the first question we ask is their name. The second question we ask is what they do. From this we make a whole host of assumptions.

We make judgements about their values, their intelligence, their income level. We make judgements about their background and their interests and therefore their interest to us.

In reality, our thoughts about what someone does for a living tells us very little about them, and more about ourselves.

Even more damaging than the preconceived ideas about those we’re yet to meet, is how this shapes our own choices about our own lives. Whether or not we are consciously aware, we decide what to do, at least in part, on how we think others will perceive us.

The galloping housewife used to be a nurse. It might be assumed that this was her ambition. The truth is she considered four careers. She discarded education because the thought of standing in front of a classroom gave her the heebies and she’s a rubbish teacher. She discarded foreign diplomacy because it meant an arts degree and we all know how useful arts degrees are. And also because tact is not her strong suit. She discarded medicine because she had absolutely no desire to spend the next ten years of her life in intense training only to come out and work around the clock.

So that left nursing.

As it turned out she loved the identity as a nurse. A nurse meant she was appreciated. A nurse meant she was needed. A nurse meant that she sacrificed time and energy for the wellbeing of others. People love nurses.

And then she left nursing and chose to ride horses for a living.

Riding the perfect 20 metre circle isn’t quite as admired as saving lives for a living. But it should be.

The world needs us all.

The last few years have shown us the value of our key workers – the transport workers, the cleaning crew, the supermarket team, the warehouse staff, the delivery drivers, the waste management squads. Yet it’s not just these essential people who have worth.

The world needs the painters and artists and actors and playwrights and musicians. We need the chefs, the vintners, the wait staff and mixologists. We need the civil servants, the accountants, the economists, the bankers and lord only knows we need better politicians. We need the farmers, the fishers, the bakers, the gardeners and the growers. We need the chemists, the biologist, the physicists and the philosophers. We need the footballers, the tennis players, the golfers, the runners and the adventurers. We need stay at home parents and unpaid caregivers and home makers. We need activists. We even need those people with perfect teeth and perfect bodies and perfect lives who post on Instagram.

And yes, we need people to ride the perfect 20m circle.

The world is made up of people doing all sorts of different things. And whether you’re making it nicer or safer or more beautiful or more organised or more fun or easier or more entertaining, you’re making it better when you do what you do.

Don’t think what you do is unimportant. You’re making our world better.


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