My commitments have changed over the years.
One of the things I that I realized is that there is a limit to how much you can care and it is easy to experience some form of compassion fatigue.
If you are encounering compassion fatigue for the first time, compassion fatigue is learned indifference to charitable causes as a result of the increased frequency of exposure to the said charitable causes.
Here’s an example from personal experience.
As my income grew, the people who are trying to get my attention so I can spare them my resources have increased.
There’s the gym who’s trying to earn more profit in exchange for my participation in their health promoting activities.
There are friends who started a business or started buying and selling a product or service and wants me to invest a small percentage of my income into what they are selling.
There’s the church who’s accepts donations so they can help the poor and spread their message.
There’s environmentalist groups who wants me to support cleaning up the ocean, zero-waste, buying more sustainable products, saving the animals by being vegan.
There’s my job who wants me to dedicate a little more time into the office.
There’s my family and there are many levels from immediate to my extended family.
There may be more but these are the groups of people sending me messages, pleading for a positive action on my part.
The common conversation is that you “have the moral obligation to care” and as a result I’m at a point where my workable resources are literally too thin.
As far as time goes, if you get enough sleep to function well, we only have fourteen hours to spend daily max.
And church wants a percentage.
So and so wants a percentage.
And sooner or later, we’ll run out of resources.
And as a consequence, we have little ability to go after what is genuinely important to us.
It’s a lot like carrying a backpack filled with several useful things then trying to run a marathon and obstacle course at the same time.
There’s nothing wrong with assisting and supporting these organizations and groups.
I myself have supported these for years and would like to continue doing so in the future.
My main point is that it’s generally not good for me to “auto-accept” these calls to action.
My current conclusion:
It’s okay to not care about your religion.
It’s okay to not care about the environment.
It’s okay to not care about the animals.
It’s okay to not care about your family.
It’s okay to not care about your parents.
It’s okay to not care about your company.
It’s okay to not care about the children.
It’s okay to not care about the poor.
And so on.
Not all the time at least.
It’s okay to put all these responsibilities down and let it all go.
Because someone else will care about the environment.
And that someone else is likely more qualified than you.
You are neither powerful enough to save nor destroy the earth.
There is nothing you can do.
All that plastic saving, is not going to make a difference.
Even if you raise everyone in your family from the dead, you can’t cause significant damage to the planet.
And if you’re paying attention to life…
Almost every major religion has a punch line that says “there’s nothing you can do.”
When the insurance guys pitch insurance, they often show me a graph that 95% of the people don’t make it and so on.
Business and sales activities also share a 95-99% failure rate.
And that’s the point.
But what about the winners?
The top 5%?
The top 1%?
How do you explain the existence of top people with everything seemingly going well for them?
From my decade of study, the observation seems to be, to try and win only one game at a time, then another, and then another after a victory has been achieved.
Because life is already difficult on a day to day context.
Multiple targets are just going to make achievement incredibly complex and difficult.
As for the sequence, I believe personal maintenance takes priority, and charity begins at home, then gradual expansion as your bandwidth increases.
When you didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat right, you feel horrible and it affects your ability to work and to tell the difference, and as a result, you make poor decisions and lose your ability to get things done.
You also have you to take care of you.
That is your moral obligation.
Even if I occasionally quote ancient religious text.
I pay extra attention to Matthew 7:3-5 which says:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
In the same way, I strongly feel that all change should start from within.
That, and I have a moral obligation to prioritize taking care of myself first.
This is the primary reason I am exploring and consistently returning to minimalism and minimalist lifestyle practices.
I know for a fact that I’m powerless and even more when I’m distracted and I still want a few wins before my time is up and I know that I can only accomplish a limited number of wins.
So I am becoming or at least trying to be more mindful about what I pay attention to.
And if you are reading this because I am declining your request for time, attention, and financial assistance.
Please note that I am, at this time, unable to allocate said resources because of my current commitments.
I wish you well and I hope you understand.
Thank you for reading.
If you have a question or would like to say anything tweet or send me an email.