I want you to visualize three different objects: a spoon, a frying pan, and a pot.

Ultimately each of the three is used to hold something. Usually it is food related. The varying factor is the total volume the object can hold. A spoon is the smallest, a pot is the largest, and a pan sits somewhere between the two. This begs the question of how big a spoon is allowed to get before it is considered a pan. Likewise, if you grind away the top rim of a deep pot, how far down must you go until it is a spoon? What truly defines one as being unique from the others? If the difference between a pan and a pot is the depth of the object, at what point does the transition happen?

Of course, these are all loaded questions and you know the answers even if you haven’t put words to it. When asked on the spot you may not be able to define the point at which these three objects “become” another…at least, not if you’re approaching the questions from this angle.

You know that something is wrong about pouring your morning cereal into a spoon and using a pot to scoop it up and eat it. Trying to boil eggs in a shallow pan while you fry bacon in a pot just doesn’t make sense. The straightforward answer is simple: objects are defined more by their function and less by their design.

If you sit on a stump, the stump’s function is a seat. If you store items on top of a chair, the chair’s function is a table. If you use a pile of straw to sleep on, the straw’s function is a bed.

Now imagine yourself. Your body is a pile of bonded and cooperative atoms that figured out how to think, feel, and love. When you look at our composition, there’s no physical difference between someone who helps other people and someone who hurts other people. All else equal, the difference comes from how we utilize what we are given.

Sometimes a spoon isn’t big enough to scoop water from a sinking boat. Occasionally we’re given a pot in life when we needed a pan. At the end of each day, our humanity as a species and who you are as a human will not be defined by the physical properties of your body. Much like our spoons, pots, and pans, your definition will come from your function and purpose — so write a good definition each day.

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