It all matters.
When David’s client stepped into his salon and asked him to style her hair, he asked if she had any special plans that night. A party, some type of social engagement, anything?
She said no, nothing special. Which wasn’t exactly true.
In fact, she did have something planned for that night. Something big.
She was planning to end her life — and she wanted her hair to look nice at her funeral.
David didn’t know that, of course. He proceeded to do his work as he always does — with warmth, care, and flair, joking and making his client smile and laugh throughout the process. At the end, they hugged goodbye.
A few days later, David received a letter from that same woman. In her letter, she confessed what she’d been planning to do. She said that after seeing David, though, and after having such a loving, wonderful experience at his salon, she changed her mind at the last moment. Instead of driving home to kill herself, she checked herself into a hospital to receive professional care. In her letter, she thanked David for making a difference in her life.
“Thank you for being there without knowing that you were.”
David was so moved by this experience — which he describes in more detail here — that he went on to write a book inspired by it — Life As a Daymaker: How to Change the World by Simply Making Someone’s Day — and also created a website to inspire other people to become Daymakers, too.
I’ve encountered many religions and spiritual traditions over the years — with many beautiful teachings — but no credo has impacted me more deeply than the Daymaker philosophy:
“Simple acts of kindness can make someone’s day and possibly even cause a worldwide ripple effect.”
Or, to phrase that a different way, in my own words:
Your words, your actions, your art projects, your efforts, every small, tender, beautiful thing that you put forth into the world matters so much. So much more than you may realize. Every single day, as you go about your work, you have no idea whose life you could be impacting for the better — often, in ways you can’t even imagine.
I find it so empowering to remember this fact — to remember how much your efforts matter, especially when you are feeling invisible (“Nobody is reading my stupid blog”) or unimportant (“Nobody wants to give me a book deal”) or uncreative (“I don’t have any world-changing ideas”) or boring (“I have nothing important to say”) or unsuccessful (“My business isn’t growing; My boss didn’t give me a promotion; My income is too low”).
You may feel all of these things — invisible, unimportant, uncreative, boring, unsuccessful — but none of these things are actually true.
Because if you are willing to make one person’s day a little better than it was before — whether it is through a haircut, a compliment, a beautiful meal, a blog post, anything at all — then you are making a difference, and you might not realize just how big of a difference you are making.
It could be the biggest difference of all.
It could be the difference of inspiring someone to choose life over death.
It doesn’t get much more “important” than that.
Remember this power that you hold.
Then go do something — big or small or so very tiny, extraordinary or beautifully ordinary — to make another human being’s day a little better.
What you do matters. Every art project. Every email. Every job, even the jobs you don’t love. Every act of care.
It all matters.