Utter Irrelevance

Utter Irrelevance

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I remember the intensity of school and university: how the environment and everyone in it were in ‘do or die’ mode, regarding the qualifications to be gained at that time.  Later on in life, I reflect that those moments really didn’t matter as much as my mind thought they did, then. The pressure came from an over-emphasis on the importance of the moment – the egoic desire to put my current situation at the centre of the universe.

Although those moments made the ‘next stage’ easier – decades later, I can’t see that they made much of a difference to my long-term happiness. The greater value was in learning to overcome challenges, rather than the absolute necessity to successfully get through any particular challenge.

It was the same in business, in my twenties. It all seemed very important at the time – with many ‘do or die’ moments; but in the end, 10 years after the company was sold, very little of what we built remains. Again, the only valuable thing is our collective learning in overcoming challenges. What we did back then didn’t really matter as much as we thought, as we now see, with the benefit of the fullness of time.

When things become stressful, I have learnt to de-emphasise the  ‘importance’ of these moments or situations. I have learnt to observe the part of me that wants to succeed, be recognised, rewarded, appreciated and that needs to see what I am doing as important. It’s the part that naturally puts me in the centre of things and makes more of things than they really are. If I detach from that part of me, and simply observe, it removes me from the moment, and the stress.

When I start to feel pressure and burden in what I do, I say to myself:

“I am utterly irrelevant. I am but a speck of dust on a speck of dust in an infinite universe. There is no need for me to do this. There are 7.5 billion amazing people on the planet. The void will fill.”

At first glance, it might seem painful to talk to oneself in this way. Our ego might cry, ‘I don’t want to be insignificant! I want to be important!’ But this is exactly the problem. And my experience is that tuning into my utter irrelevance makes all the pressure and burden gradually disappear. It’s all trivial, in the general scheme of things.

When I get myself out of the way and de-emphasise the importance of a situation or moment, I find that answers emerge for how to navigate through it.

If we are anxious, it’s hard to think. When we relax, ideas and solutions come more easily. We have all heard the phrase ‘it will be better in the morning’. That is because the brain processes and integrates everything during sleep. Sleep shifts perspective and quietens the loudness and over-emphasis of the monkey mind. A way through can often be found after a good night’s sleep.

More than anything else, I have learnt  to be aware of the state in which I am living my life. No matter what I do in the world, my priority is to do this work from a relaxed place of fun and joy. That matters more than anything else.

The way to get back the joy of life is to remind yourself that what you are doing in the moment matters far less than you realise. This is a philosophy that creates a lot of personal freedom – and ironically, it allows me to do my best work.

  • How are you putting yourself in the centre?
  • How are you over-emphasising the importance of your current situation?
  • How can you make yourself less indispensable?
  • How can you free yourself from the burden you don’t need to take on?
  • How will building from joy and ease help you to do your best work?

To shifting perspective – to irrelevance.


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  1. Love it, Marc, I noticed that it moved me a couple of times, so it did indeed land.

    Regarding your ‘spec’, you are right, we came from that spec, that stardust, and to it, we will return. That which is never born never dies, so our soul or spirit continues, the vehicle in which we are travelling is what dies and disappears.

    When we are bound up in thoughts, it is impossible to think properly and fully. More so, when we are not present, not still enough to see or be seen, and not quiet enough to hear or be heard. When we do, as you rightly observe, it is as though we are getting spoken, we are that which the words, thoughts, and ideas that need to come through, are able to come through and to be made manifest.

    Loving the paradox of getting out of the way of it all, to find the answers to navigate through it….priceless wisdom.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Marc.


  2. Great article, Marc, and so true. I remember hearing Carolyn Myss saying to an audience, “You are not special.” That resonated! I’m not special and my best work comes from a place of simply being more fully who I really am. Thanks for some wise words.

  3. “How will building from joy and ease help you to do your best work?”

    Here’s my track record and experience over the last forty years with supporting effortlessness within and amongst us all.


  4. Thanks Marc, really enjoyed this post. Great reminder to get some perspective.

  5. I will be adding this mantra “I am utterly irrelevant” to my morning meditation! Thanks for being so un-special Marc!

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