In the boy scouts, they teach you to “leave no trace.” When you camp or hike, you make sure that you leave the area the way you found it. It might be good management for our natural resources, but it’s hard not to leave any evidence.
Today’s fortune couldn’t be more accurate. We leave evidence of our presence wherever we go.
When camping, you will probably do your part to cover your tacks, but they will still be there. You might have broken some branches for your campfire, and a few pieces landed out of site. You poked holes in the ground with your tent stakes. Maybe you left some tracks in the mud. No one expects you to fix those little things, so they become evidence of your presence.
When at school, someone takes attendance. You are marked present on a list and they send it to the office, where they record it in your file. You also have your homework assignments and tests that are records of your participation in school.
A similar thing happens at work. Your employer pays you for the time you spend working. They document your hours and give you a paycheck. They file that documentation and they send a copy to the IRS.
Seriously, there is a vast paper trail on you. Pretty much from the time you are born, you were leaving a long list of records, a birth certificate, health records, school records, work records, social security records, etc. You leave a lot of evidence in your life, but you also leave something else—your impression.
Whether you are walking in the woods, going to school or work, or visiting a foreign country, you will leave an impression. Just because you don’t have someone cataloging your every move, doesn’t mean you don’t leave a trace. You will interact with people along the way.
You may hold the door open for someone. You might cut someone off in traffic. You might speak too loud on your cell phone in public. You might compliment someone on their apparel. All of these acts can leave a lasting impression.
If you’re polite and smile, you will probably make someone happy. You will likely anger someone if you’re sour and rude. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one.