in life

One Drop in a Limitless Ocean

If you’d like, you can sit back, relax, and LISTEN to this post, narrated by yours truly. Just click the PLAY button below.

Today I turn 27 years old. And, leave it to a birthday to have me thinking all introspectively and philosophically about my life, what’s gotten me here and where I see myself going (birthdays are good for putting it all into perspective, arent’ they?)

I’d like for you all to join me in taking a moment to address, to yourself, the following questions:

  • Am I happy?
  • What am I doing?
  • What do I want to be doing?
  • What’s standing in my way? (Finances? Lack of support? Fear of failing?)
  • What lasting impact do I want to have? How will I leave my mark?

It may seem like where you are and where you want to be are light-years apart. You may believe that your big dreams are just that, dreams that will never become reality.

It may all seem surreal and impossibly impossible, but at some point, if that dream, that idea, that thing is to become real – for it to become what you DO – you’ll have to take action.

Action is nothing without an idea. And an idea is nothing without action. It’s a vicious cycle that we so often find ourselves trapped within. We’re so damn afraid of our ideas. We discount them as “not good enough.” We’re quick to label them as impossible. But to quote David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas:

“All revolutions are the sheerest fantasy until they happen; then the become historical inevitabilities.”

You know what I think we’re actually most afraid of? What I know is one of my greatest fears? It’s the fear that everything I do, all the work I put in, all the hustle and effort will amount to very little impact. That I won’t matter. That I won’t make a difference. That I won’t leave this life having done something great.

The problem is not in doing something great – but in defining what “great” really means – to me – to you – personally. Greatness is relative. It isn’t measured by a grand impact. It isn’t measured in quantity or reach. Extraordinary people are not extraordinary based on the size of their audience, but rather, their contribution. Extraordinary people play to the size of their heart, not the size of the crowd.

It’s easy to think what you’re doing couldn’t possibly matter, in the grand scheme of things. That you are but one drop in a limitless ocean. But to again quote David Mitchell,“What is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

As I’ve said before and as Seth Godin writes about today, there’s no better time than now – right now – to do something great. To be great:

“There’s never been a better opportunity to step up and make an impact, while we’ve got the chance. This generation, this decade, right now, there are more opportunities to connect and do art than ever before. Maybe even today.

It’s pretty easy to decide to roll with the punches, to look at the enormity of natural disaster and choose to hunker down and do less. It’s more important than ever, I think, to persist and make a dent in the universe instead.”

Fear is hands down the greatest adversary of greatness. Fear of acceptance. Fear of failure. Maybe fear of success. But I’ll close with a quote from Dale Carnegie which I hope you’ll take into account – that I know I will, and do, every single day:

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Actions breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Today I turn 27 years old. Looking ahead, I know this will be the best year yet. Why? Because even though I may fail, I know that I’ll never stop trying to be great. I know I’ll push myself harder than ever to make my own dent in the universe.

Here’s to going out, getting busy, taking action – and turning our fantasies – our wildest dreams, into realities. Into historical inevitabilities.

Add Your Voice



  1. Happy Birthday to you! As a fellow 27’er, I know that this birthday weirdly holds a lot of weight and brings a lot of questions. I love the ones you posed above. It all comes down to facing your fears and setting (and constantly raising) your own bar of greatness. My post today was along the same lines…getting over a fear that has held me back from doing something I know will help make a difference. Here’s to gettin’ busy! :)

  2. That’s a lot of wisdom for someone with only 27 years under his belt. :)

    I love the purpose I hear in your words, Matt. Each post feels so pointed and yet open at the same time. Fabulous.

    I hope you have a very happy birthday – full of impossible revolutions and fear-free dreaming.

    All the best.

    • Thanks, Jamie! Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m *only* 27. With all the life/work experiences I’ve been through over the past few years, I often feel a lot older than I really am. Very fortunate to be where I am, doing what I’m doing, today. Here’s to continuing to make things happen!

  3. I agree with Jamie. Lots of wisdom for someone who just turned 27. You have such an inspiring path. And I’m glad I listened to the audio version. Read halfway along but then just started listening the rest of the way. I’ve seen the audio version posts on one other blog (can’t remember right now) before but it’s a nice idea. And you sound really good for audio books! I’m buzzing with new marketing angles just thinking about audio now :)

  4. Well Happy Birthday Matt, I thought we were suppose to give you the gift! This was worth repeating “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Actions breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

    • Thanks, Mark. I couldn’t agree more with the Carnegie quote. ACTION is the single-most-effective way to combat fear and doubt. Here’s to getting out there and DOING more often!

  5. Happy Birthday to a fellow Scorpion! Was great to hear your voice in the audio version. I just turned 30 and thought it would make a huge difference to me, but really I still feel 25! Age aint nothing but a number and you shouldn’t say you feel a lot older, I would say with your wisdom and ability to motivate others, you are more of an old soul! Really enjoying your blog and hope you’ve had a fabulous birthday!

  6. Happy Birthday Matt! “Action is nothing without an idea. And an idea is nothing without action.” that was probably one of my favorite lines in this post because it’s so true. Now finding that balance hmmm. I agree you come off as quite wise in your tender age of 27 so Matt consider yourself an old soul and wear that title with pride. Keep up the great work and enjoy the rest of your special day :-)

  7. Happy Birthday Matt!
    You’ve found a way to connect with many many people, inspiring action on the way, and triggering people to think about what they do with their lives, careers, and talents.
    You should be proud.
    Well done.

    • Thanks, Russell. I’m extremely thankful for the platform I’ve developed (and continue to evolve) here – allowing me to share my thoughts and ideas and most importantly, learn a lot along the way.

  8. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!