Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life … have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary … We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?
~ Steve Jobs
by Pete Ferguson
Many chided the first time Steve Job’s quote about putting a dent in the universe was released. It seemed too imperial – too unachievable for the common man.
Yet this week I have seen a very humble, gracious, and wonderful person’s passing put a sizable impact into many people’s lives. For those working at eBay, you of course know I am talking about Calvin Blossom.
On the surface, it seems impossible. How could a security officer and janitorial manager have such an impact? We are taught in school that world leaders only have that kind of impact – it can’t be available for all – can it?
Calvin proved it can. He didn’t invent a device that caries music and video. But he had a heart overflowing with love that impacted soo many. We’ve heard from people who left eBay over five years ago and feel sad at the loss. Others who have moved to other locations but remember Cal well and are saddened at his passing.
Cal’s heart made a dent in so many universes. And he inspires me that I can can – and should – have that kind of impact on others by simply being human.
His strength was in getting to know a little bit about each of us on a daily basis. In over ten years both at work and at social functions, I never once had a conversation with Calvin that I can recall lasting more than five minutes with the exception of his initial job interview. Yet he knew me better than many people I’ve spent many more hours with in the same time.
It was in the constant and consistent caring through which he built an aggregate of understanding of an individual.
And he became a bedrock of what it meant to come to work in the morning. We couldn’t control the traffic, the weather, or if our favorite soda or bagel was going to be available, but we did know we were going to get a smile and a hello from Calvin and, if time allowed, he would ask how we were doing.
And the simplicity of his humanity made a dent in our universe.
It is so simple – yet it is so hard to commit to words the meaning here.
It teaches – and reminds me – that as a father I do not have to provide trips around the world and material things to my children to impact them. All I need to provide is concentrated bursts of time without an “i-whatever”, television, computer or other distraction.
As a husband I am reminded that flowers, diamonds, trips, and other things are nice, but what I will be remembered and cherished for is the time I invest listening to and spending with my wife.
And as I look at my life and others who have had considerable amount of influence upon me, all they gave me was a deep concentration of time in short bursts that made me feel worth existing and inspired me to continue to be better than I am.
One of my greatest mentors is my maternal grandfather who died when I was fourteen. I saw him but once or twice a year for several days while he was alive, but hardly a week goes by now that I don’t feel his impact or that I am reminded of his example to me. He was a simple mechanic and outfitter on an assembly line. But he was a master at the way he invested in people.
The great people I have known who impact the core of who I am all have this in common. When I talked to them, I felt connected, like there was no one else in the world but me. They remember my name, they remember who I am. They inspired me to be better.
Each of us have the ability to make a dent in the universe of those we are surrounded by. It won’t take heroics or impossible things. It will just take a little bit of time, consistently over time, to invest emotionally.
[There have been many questions about donating to Cal’s family. There is an account setup with Mountain America Credit Union. Please use PayPal and type in “firstname.lastname@example.org” as the address and the funds will be transferred into the account. Thanks!]
Remembering Calvin Blossom (Chris Miller)
Thoughts on a Life Less Ordinary (Carija Ihus)
The Influence One Life Can Have (LearnActShare)