Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Howard Thurman
Many of us meander through life with a sense of regret that we have neither achieved anything nor made our mark in this world. One reason for this regret is the subconscious desire to make our presence felt and be recognized, applauded and rewarded for our contributions. In this quest to make our presence felt we strive to find a niche that we can quickly usurp and hopefully make it the showcase of our achievements. As many a dope tainted athlete would have realized, there are no short cuts to success and the illusion that our achievements are the focal point of attention is a myth that lasts only as long as we continue to hog the lime light.
On the other hand if we scan our immediate environment, we would find a large number of individuals who may not be changing the world at large but are definitely influencing the world around them. With a little introspection, we could also make the profound discovery that each one of us too has a deep and lasting impact on the many people who we come in contact with. The trouble is that we tend to undermine our own role, abilities and influence and fall victim to the irrational belief that we need to be a mover and shaker if we are to qualify as achievers. The truth is that every small, purposeful and positive action by an individual stirs up the environment around and its ripples reach out far and wide.
The skeptic in us would immediately question our contribution and influence rationalizing that we are too insignificant in the scheme of things. So then how can we really appreciate our importance and role in the mundane and humdrum existence that we seem to be destined for? The clue to this lies in seeking answers to three vital questions.
What are my values? While it may not be humanely possible to be a paradigm of every virtue, it is essential that we identify at least one virtue that we steadfastly hold on to. Most people would have a large list of virtues but it is the one critical virtue that would help one understand ones values in life. It could be honesty/ sense of fair play/ compassion/ doggedness/ never say die spirit/ accepting challenges/ patience/ orderliness/ etc. The one central virtue is what will anchor the individual to the reality of life and inject in them the urge to proactively contribute and influence e.g. Those with a strong sense of compassion would seek out ways and means to be useful to the poor/ the destitute/ the suffering. Those who are dogged will resolutely pursue the goal they set themselves; be it bringing the guilty to justice or helping the underdog get his/her due.
How do I cope with my own personal weakness and failures? As human beings we are susceptible to a multitude of weakness and have to carry the cross of many a failure. The manner in which we cope with these limitations in us would have a profound bearing on our personality and life. . E.g. those who are unable to cope with failure could be academically brilliant but completely risk averse. Yet the weakness by itself should be seen as an indictment of the individual for almost everyone has ample alternative strengths just waiting to be tapped. E.g. some of those who are prey to addictions would when sober be the most effective and efficient people to have around. The secret is to discover the potential and to harness that power.
What should I be doing? Nothing is more confusing than the answer to this question. How does a professional sportsman know when to retire? How much money would make a person happy? Should I give up a steady job to purse my passion and dreams? Should I be single or get married because that is the way of the world? When my conscience rebels do I succumb to the pressures of protecting my friends and companions or would I at the risk of losing everything stand up for the truth no matter how damaging it may be? Once we are able to honestly and consistently answer this question of what should I be doing; then we would be doing what needs to be done voluntarily, proactively and confidently.
Answer the questions above in the silence of your hearts and they will open the doors to self awareness. Life would then be more meaningful and fulfilling.
Remember: “I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” Billie Jean King
How will you cope with this hypothetical situation?
You have attended a week long leadership training program. On the last day each participant in the program was asked to give one negative feedback for every participant. You come home with the sealed cover containing the negative feedback you have received. You open the cover and find 7 slips each outlining a different negative feedback as under. How many of these allegations are true about yourself. Can you think of one person whom you know for whom the allegation fits? Can you think of a specific incident that leads you to this conclusion about that person?
Slip 1 – In my view you are very lazy
Slip 2 – Why are you such a loud mouth
Slip 3 – I wouldn’t trust you with my purse.
Slip 4 – Your arrogant way of interaction annoyed me a lot.
Slip 5 – You are an unreliable person
Slip 6 – Wish you weren’t so negative and critical
Slip 7 – My impression is that you are too cunning
Write down the following goals for yourself.
1 personal goal
1 financial goal
1 relationship related goal
1 social commitment goal
1 goal related to a passion you have.
Now jot down at least 3 steps (for each goal) that you will take to attain the goal.
(e.g. My Passion related goal to read at least one book a month.
Step 1 – Identify at least 50 books by February 2012 end .
Step 2 – Buy at least 3 books before December 2011 end.
Step 3 – I will read every Sunday between 4 and 6 pm)
Take a look at this poster that perhaps captures the gist of this post succinctly.
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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