What if the small life is actually the big life?


When I was a kid, I thought the epic life was the big life. You know, hit the game-winning home run. Slay a dragon. Conquer a distant land. When I got older, I still believed that the epic life meant doing big things. Make more money. Travel the world. Get more status. Make a name for yourself. Be recognized for your excellence. Do something memorable. Make something big.

I viewed the epic life as a battle to be fought or a game to be won.

But what if the epic life isn’t really like this?

What if it’s all about tiny, humbler experiences that ultimately build a better life?

When I think of my dad, I remember the hours spent tossing the baseball back and forth or playing video games in the living room or the times we went to the lake. And when I think of my mom, I remember the long talks and the art projects and the trips to the bookstore and the hours spent playing Uno on a rainy day. Or that time we used tennis rackets to form a family air guitar band.

Sometimes I forget this.

I think life is found in doing a big project that gets tons of attention or in delivering more keynotes or having a successful book or gaining the reputation as an expert in education.

But that’s not where life is found.

Life is a journey with tiny destinations. It’s found in building a pillow fort or a Lego set or gathering together for a meal. It’s found in writing a story or painting a picture without worrying about numbers and metrics. It’s found in serving others and making a difference. It’s found in exploring ideas and geeking out just for the fun of it.

It’s found in staring out in wonder at the canvas stars and being overwhelmed with the universe and then watching the same amazement on the eyes of my kids. It’s found in spending a life with the woman I fell in love with over a decade ago and who still never ceases to amaze me.

That’s the epic life.

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

More about John

5 responses

  1. Woah. That is so true. You spoke to my heart this morning in a time I totally needed it.


    1. Thanks for the kind words, Becky!

  2. John,
    Thanks for the reminders. Off to spend more time with my kids. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Matt. Glad you connected with it.

  3. John, you are so right! I believe that is what it is all about; enjoying these small moments, so later when we look back we have a beautiful canvas that might have been inspired by an earlier dream. As educators, I hope we can show our students the importance of small moments, and get away from "I need to pass the test next mont, next year, or in three years!" Thanks, John!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *