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humvee911 t1_j89pl59 wrote

The cemetery is full of successful people.


H3lw3rd t1_j89ywq8 wrote

Its full of losers too


not_another_drummer t1_j8aiofb wrote

If the goal is to be the richest person in the cemetery, you're still dead.


myebubbles t1_j8amd5j wrote

Would suck to be in your 60s and wonder if you watched less sports/TV, you could have made a major contribution to humanity.

At least those regrets will be over in 30 years...


aesu t1_j8aov27 wrote

Many studies show people don't really think this way by their sixties. These sort of ego driven thoughts are the purview of younger people, and on average, people mellow out and grow happier with age, regardless of life success.

Given that by definition, 99.9% of people just have to go to a mundane job every day for 50 years, to keep civlisation afloat, such a mindset of having to be in the 0.1% who make some major contribution to be happy, is going to leave 99.9% of people unhappy.


savagetruck t1_j8bbvu5 wrote

This idea that the way most people contribute to the world is through their job is so myopic. It only exists because it’s easy to quantify.

I firmly believe that the biggest impact that 99.9% of people will have on the world is how they treat others, especially strangers.

I’ll give you a scenario: the lady in front of you at the grocery store is $20 short. You give her the $20. She doesn’t put back the breakfast supplies. Her kid gets a nice breakfast the next morning instead of nothing. Because of this, they’re not distracted and they get a good score on their placement exam that day, above the cutoff line for being in the gifted classes. They get more attention from teachers. They have more confidence in their abilities. They work harder in school, get good grades, get into college, get a good job, become successful.

Bad deeds work the same way. Say that instead of giving them $20, you steal $20 out of their purse in the checkout line. Now they don’t have the money for those breakfast supplies, their kid is below the cutoff line for gifted classes, and none of that stuff happens. They don’t do well in school, they don’t get into college, and they repeat the cycle of poverty they were born into.

I’m not saying that this happens every time you help someone with groceries, in fact it probably only happens 0.1% of the time, but it does happen. The problem is that we don’t see any of this, we don’t know what effect our actions have. But in reality, we all have a huge effect on the world around us.

Good and bad deeds also multiply. Say that woman is so grateful that she starts to do the same for others once her finances allow her to. The same thing happens to the people she helps, and the people they help, etc. Suddenly that single act is responsible for a thousand stories just like the one above, a thousand lives changed for the better. And that’s ONE single kind act. Multiply that over a lifetime, and you’ve affected millions of lives.

It won’t be on your tombstone, or in your eulogy, or in a Wikipedia article about your life, but this is your real legacy. This is your biggest impact on the world.


Mike_H07 t1_j8d5yz5 wrote

Yeah sorry Imma disagree. While being nice is important, for a big part of the world they would rather have a working economy, gas bills paid and food on the table, which gets impacted by the economy of your country and what the productivity of your countries work is.

These stories are nice and some do have live changing moments, but this is just ignoring the people that work for 50 odd years making sure those groceries even exist in the first place.


savagetruck t1_j8d79ja wrote

I didn’t imply anywhere that working and being a productive member of society isn’t important. Of course that’s still important, but you’re not changing the world working at your job. If you didn’t exist, someone else would be doing that job and would likely do about the same work as you did. People have to work to keep the economy functioning and that won’t change any time soon. But what everyone has in their power to control is how they treat other people, and the difference in someone’s lifetime effect on the world being a hateful, selfish, cruel person and a loving, generous, empathetic person is massive. It’s a lot more massive than if someone else did the job you’re doing.

To put it in economic terms: say you tried extra hard at work and increased your productivity by 10% over your lifetime by working 50 hours instead of 40 hours per week. Great, that’s 10% more work than you would’ve done over 50 years. It took 26,000 hours to do all of that extra work, 26,000 hours of productive work put into the economy.

Now say that instead of working an extra 10 hours, you volunteered in an after-school program for at-risk kids, taught them life skills, helped them with homework, and provided them with a responsible adult role model to emulate. Say you also did this for 10 hours a week for 50 years. Say that you spent 100 hours total per kid. That’s 260 kids who have a much better chance of succeeding academically, getting a good job, avoiding prison, raising a family, teaching their kids the same life skills and being that same role model, etc. 260 adults who are much more likely to be contributing to the economy instead of being a burden on government resources. Even if you only saved one of those kids from going to prison, that’s a huge amount of money that would be saved. It takes the full annual tax revenue of half a dozen working citizens just to incarcerate one person for a year.

Now which do you think has made the bigger impact, that 10% increase in your work productivity, or spending 100 hours each with 260 kids (or 200 hours each with 130 kids, or 1000 hours each with 26 kids) who go on to be much more likely to have productive careers of their own, and to raise children who also have productive careers, and so on? It’s simple interest vs. compounding interest, linear growth vs geometric growth.

I don’t just mean helping someone change a tire, I’m talking about being a positive force in other people’s lives, whether that’s taking advantage of chance encounters to help someone who needs it, making a concerted effort to help through a volunteer program, or just being kind to someone who needs some kindness in their life. You never know what effect your actions will have.


Mike_H07 t1_j8df9dd wrote

Okay, I don't agree with your calculations, that 10% extra put into work could also be a breakpoint for many jobs changing lives etc (very unreasonable, but that is the premise of your being nice argument), cause guess what, all those volunteer tasks that have compounding interests also can he jobs. A teacher that teaches 10% better could also change so many more.lives than your volunteer guy, a doctor working 10% better, literally saving 10% more lives.

I don't disagree that education and mental health impact the economy a lot, but I disagree on the magnitude you describe to these effects from chance meetings on the street etc from untrained volunteer workers compared to mental health professionals

P.s. saying yeah someone else does the job if you don't exist and then ignoring that argument for your own choices (like only you can do volunteer work and no one else) is kinda weird.


DukeVerde t1_j8cbjn1 wrote

> Bad deeds work the same way. Say that instead of giving them $20, you steal $20 out of their purse in the checkout line. Now they don’t have the money for those breakfast supplies, their kid is below the cutoff line for gifted classes, and none of that stuff happens. They don’t do well in school, they don’t get into college, and they repeat the cycle of poverty they were born into.

That's a ridiculously one dimensional way to look at things, and doesn't even work that way in modern countries where education is free.


myebubbles t1_j8b72jd wrote

>many studies

>Psychology being science after their replication crisis