There isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t want to feel significant, wanted, and important. Maybe we don’t want to be world-renown or in the spotlight 24/7, but we crave to be recognized as someone who creates influence; in peoples’ lives, in decisions, and in our families. Even the most unmotivated and unambitious person has a need to feel wanted.
I remember the first time I had the hunger of wanting to feel important. I sat on wooden bleachers in a circular arena watching the most incredible show of my life so far. The smiles these people brought to the crowd, the laughter they invoked, the passion they stirred, and the wonder they created was insatiable. I watched some of the most talented animal-lovers and acrobats parade through the arena and explore areas of wonder that few had ever seen before. With every movement in the ring, I felt dust from the ground settle on my skin, watched the red and white stripped tent flap with the wind, smelled the odor of the wondrous animals of the circus, and was astounded by the show of the passionate performers of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus! After the show was done, crowds of people surrounded every performer and wanted to learn everything there was to know about them. My seven year old self walked away that night wishing I could feel that same way. When we got home, I remember talking non-stop about how I wanted to feel like the performers, wear colorful clothing, and work with exotic animals in a show for people from all around the country to come and see.
It’s funny how one incident in our lives can impact the hunger we have to feel important. The hardest part is that we often figure out how to make ourselves important as we grow up, but rarely do we help others feel the same because everybody wants to be somebody.
A few weeks ago I attended a banquet at STAR Academy in Indianapolis, Ind. They had a wonderful night of recognition for their FFA members and for the parents to witness. However, instead of merely shaking one another’s hands when receiving an award, their chapter officer team stood in a line and hugged everyone that went through. I’ve never seen such a connected group of young people honor one another as if they were the most important person in the world at that moment. It brought tears to the eyes of the proud parents, swelled the hearts of the community supporters, and impacted every student recognized that night.
Sometimes it’s hard to make a person feel like a somebody. Sometimes they don’t accept what we’re offering or maybe think there are hidden motives, even though there aren’t. The Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership say this…
“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered –love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives—do good anyway.
If you’re successful, you’ll win false friends and true enemies—succeed anyway.
The good you do today will perhaps be forgotten tomorrow—do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable—be honest and frank anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only hot dogs—fight for a few underdogs anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them—help them anyway.
Give the world the best that you have and you will get kicked in the teeth—give the world the best that you have anyway.
If better is possible, then good is not enough.”
Everybody wants to feel needed; from the moment we gain the hunger as a child, just as I did when I went to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, to the moment we make someone else feel like a somebody, like at the STAR Academy banquet, we all take on the responsibility for one another. Who are you going to make feel important? Remember, if better is possible, then good is not enough.
Here’s to the somebodies…
Alicia Hodnik, National FFA Central Region Vice President