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Bill Bryson: You Really Are Special But You Still Need To Be Extremely Nice

Bill_Bryson

Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By most astounding stroke of luck and infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.

For endless eons there was no you. Before you know it, you will cease to be again. And in between you have this wonderful opportunity to see and feel and think and do. Whatever else you do with your life, nothing will remotely compare with the incredible accomplishment of having managed to get yourself born. Congratulations. Well done. You really are special.

But not that special. There are five billion other people on this planet, everyone of them just as important, just as central to the great scheme of things, as you are. Don’t ever make the horrible, unworthy mistake of thinking yourself more vital and significant than anyone else. Nearly all the people you encounter in life merit your consideration. Many of them will be there to help you – to deliver your pizza, bag your groceries, clean up the motel room you have made such a lavish mess of. If you are not in the habit of being extremely nice to these people, then get in the habit now.

― Bill Bryson, I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away