I have a few things in my life that I consider my basic philosophy and it's rare that I add a new aspect or philosophy, but in talking to a friend on Tuesday morning I came up with something that I'll attach to my life and try to remember every day.
My life philosophy is simple:
1. Always be improving. Whatever you do, always learn how to do it better.
2. Seek increase: Never be happy with who you are to the point where you aren't trying to be a better version of yourself. Relationships, life, job, skills, whatever it is. Always seek increase.
3. Don't hurt people. Self explanatory.
4. Don't take other people's stuff.
5. Be generous but don't self-immolate.
There's now a sixth: Be a carrot.
I was talking to a very close friend and we were sharing some life stories and having all the feels you have when you talk about life and she related a story, which I won't repeat because I'm not a jerkface, and it's not completely relevant to the story, but the end result was that someone had to make her realize she mattered. That's when it hit me.
"You know what's interesting about carrots?"
At that moment, she thought I was insane. I know she did.
"I have no idea, Vin. What's interesting about carrots?"
"If you look at a carrot from a distance as it's growing, what do you see?"
She thought for a minute. "The green part." "Right," I said. "Some people are carrots, aren't they?"
She was quiet. "Think about it. A carrot, from a distance is not very interesting. It looks like any other weed. Just some green stuff growing in a field of other green stuff. Nothing interesting."
Still quiet, I continued, "But when do you realize how great a carrot is? A carrot isn't worth anything until you pull it out of the dirt that surrounds it. People are kind of like carrots. Their worth is hidden until you lift them out of the dirt they're buried in."
I could almost hear the click as she realized what I was saying. "That's genius, man. I love it!"
I've had this thought a lot since it hit me, but people are always going through something. Even when it isn't public and visible there's something in the back of someone's head that's slowing them down, causing them self-doubt, or making them stop. People give up on themselves or never reach for the brass ring because they're buried knee deep in the dirt. They need their friends and their loved ones to pull them up so they can be the carrot they were meant to be.
The hard part is you don't always know who needs to be pulled out of the dirt and the carrots don't usually ask, so "Be a carrot" really does boil down to two simultaneous philosophies: If you need to be pulled out of the dirt, surround yourself with people who will do it. If you know someone who needs to be pulled out of the dirt, pull them out so they can be the carrot that they were meant to be.
Be the person who's not only the carrot they were meant to be, but the person who helps others reach their full carroty potential.