I’ve become addicted to 43 Things recently. The website is a place to list 43 goals, and where you can give and get help and encouragement in achieving those goals. But an entry I read recently from someone who cheered one of my goals really struck home. It was titled, “Don’t stop to wave, you’ll drown”. The inspired entry quotes from a couple authors and it explained some of my problems using the 43 Things website, and how I can use it better.
The essence of the entry was that life is like a river, and you have to keep swimming. If you stop to wave, to get appreciation, to be acknowledged, to be anything, you will drown. Waiting for people to notice kills dreams. After a few days I chose a goal to give 43 cheers as I noticed others had chosen similar goals. Many have given 1000 cheers on 43 Things. But in order to give cheers, you have to get cheers. You can get cheers from others, and you also get “a handful” of cheers from the system every day. I started feeling like a lab rat hitting the lever hoping for a bit of food. I was glad when the goal was over.
The “Don’t stop to wave or you’ll drown” entry clarified my troubles. The “high” on 43 Things is being cheered, or recognized, or when someone leaves a comment or response. But it’s better not to want or need that recognition. Perhaps it’s good to appreciate the cheers, but the focus needs to be on the real goal, to keep swimming, flow with the current, and keep moving.
These new social networking websites have a tremendous power. I like 43Things.com because it offers support and encouragement. But the real power comes from giving. Giving others a cheer, or an answer to a question, or just a supportive comment, is a way to appreciate others, and to enrich the internet. I don’t want to wait for others to notice anymore. I choose to keep on swimming.