Making choices for a positive impact

Kelly Smith

Something I’ve noticed recently is how shallow we, humanity, have become. What I mean by that is we seem to have become more obsessed with what we lose or gain (often money) by doing something, rather than the actual importance and impact of what it is we’re doing.

I’ve seen the opening scene of “The Newsroom” floating around the media a lot, where Jeff Daniels’ character explains that we, as Americans in particular, used to do things “for moral reasons,” but that’s not really what we see today, is it? While morality thankfully isn’t completely out the window, there are so many careless and empty decisions being made in this world today for shallow reasons, like making money or being famous. 

One of the biggest examples of this is in the arts and entertainment industries. Everybody has the right to profit from their work, whatever it may be, but some things make stronger and more impactful statements to consumers than others, both positive and negative. Other times, it makes no statement at all and is just meant for entertainment or money. 

For instance, I was never a fan of Miley Cyrus, especially since she began reinventing herself with “Bangerz.” On her following album, she has a few “songs” not even a minute long that feature repeated phrases in a techno voice. Being a fan of creative and symbolic work, my first thought was, “What? 46 seconds about being drunk?”

I’m not saying anything against writing about a personal experience or something, but whatever happened to using music to make a difference in other people’s lives, to touch them in some way? There’s so much out there today about drugs, sex and money that it’s becoming harder to find music that actually feeds the soul and uplifts the spirit. 

The same can actually be said about anything, really. Pointless things are beginning to take over more and more. It’s one thing to enjoy something simply for entertainment, but it’s another thing to do nothing but indulge yourself in something that really serves no purpose other than to waste your time. 

There is a difference between the person who plays video games once in a while to relieve stress and someone with no outside life playing 24/7. In fact, that’s an important question to ask yourself about what you’re doing here and now at Grand Valley State University. What are your goals in life? What are your ambitions and passions? 

In the end, it all comes down to you. As our marching band director often says, “It’s a choice.” You have the ability to do what you want, but it may or may not be beneficial to yourself or others. 

I think that’s something that needs to be taken into consideration more often than it is: How is this going to impact others? Because when we set our eyes on a goal greater than things like temporary entertainment or making a lot of money, that’s when we start to reap rewards that are actually worth something.