As many people know, my wife and I just completed a run of It's a Wonderful Life. One of my lines as George that has hit home for me is, "I want to do something big, something important." This is something I've thought many a time.
The point of the story is that the little things really are the important things in life. You can make a huge difference in "a business of nickels and dimes."
As a therapist, I know I have the opportunity to do important things. Big things for some people. Yet I still have a longing to do something "big."
Obviously "something big" is a very relative idea. Yet in my mind, being a therapist is not something "big." It is something small, but important.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which is at the top of every page on this blog. It is from Mother Teresa, saying, "We can do no great things; only small things with great love."
I'm finding that to be more and more true. In many ways, "big things" and "important things" are sometimes mutually exclusive. The big things I can think of are often considered important, but really aren't (take most of Hollywood for example). And most important things really aren't that big (like being a parent, a spouse, etc.).
Although this, too, depends on our definition of "important." For me, it's making a clear difference in someone's life--changing it. However, anything a person can do can be quite important (the world wouldn't operate if the "mundane" things weren't done).
I came into the field of psychology because it was more important for me to do something that would make an important difference in someone's life than do something "big." Yet the urge for the latter is still there. Perhaps because it seems as a society, we think big is important and small is unimportant. It's hard to challenge that idea.
Maybe what we need to do (me included) is challenge our definitions of both big and important...