Forty things I’ve learned in my first 40 years.  Learn more about the series here.

6 of 40…

Just over a week ago, I stood in a mass of humanity in downtown Minneapolis. It was cool, windy, and rainy. But, there was electricity in the air.

It was the start of the Twin Cities Marathon and I was about to share a moment with about 7,543 others. For me, the moment had nothing to do with the race. Rather, it took place only in my head.

Instead of my mind focusing on the race, debating the adequacy of my training, or assessing the questionable weather, I looked around and had one of those strange human experiences.

My mind went here… “Every single one of these people has a story.”

For all of my thoughts, experiences, preferences, and biases, every human in that crowd had an equal amount of history and baggage.

Wow. When you take a minute to absorb the magnitude of it, it’s mind-blowing.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this experience. I used to periodically have these same moments when watching people scuttle through airports. EVERYONE has a story!

What else?

Some other points to think about related to this:

  • Each of us is the whole catastrophe – the good, the bad, and everything in between.
  • Think about the stories behind each of those 59 names tragically memorialized in Vegas.
  • It’s so deafeningly convenient to be fully absorbed in our own priorities, our own busyness, and our own lives while we watch others pass by.
  • Our minds weigh our own existence and experiences with more significance than those of others. We frequently discount the stories of others as we struggle to justify our thoughts as being right.
  • “…everyone you’ll ever meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Bob Dylan’s reflection on wisdom shared by his grandmother.

Takeaway 6 of 40

It’s important to remember that everyone has a set of dreams and a set of challenges equal to our own. Whether we align or agree with them matters little. Patience and compassion are in order, and too many times in short supply.

Considering all of our unique stories and how they uniquely shape our respective filters, it’s insane to think that we’ll see things in life the exact same way. I’ve actually conditioned myself to be surprised when someone agrees with me versus expecting them to. It’s amazing how this reshapes perspective.

Despite our differences, our stories are similar in the way they play out over a lifetime. Times of energy and times of fatigue. Moments of agony and moments of immense pride. Failure and success. Loving and learning. Tears and beers!

Sounds eerily similar to running a marathon.

As for my race day…  I ran a 3:20 and change, with all of the twists and turns noted above. The hills in the last miles taught me a few new lessons of humility, but that’s a story for another day!

What’s your story?

Enjoy today,



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