“Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.”
—David Thomas, President of Morehouse College
Image from Flickr by Imanka
About 20 years ago I attended a year-long program called The Wisdom Course. One of our primary assignments was to write our autobiography. We were to include photographs from every age, if available, and document important people and life events from each year. This was done through our own recollection, as well as interviews with many of the people we identified.
I found it fascinating to see the impact I made on the people in my life, and the impact they had on my growth and development. Of particular interest was where and how I began developing my core values, personality, and character.
The most notable observation was that the unselfish and noble actions – my own and those of others – were the most memorable and enduring.
Consider doing your own biographical life review. Make particular note of the noble and unselfish actions taken by yourself and others along the way. How have these events shaped you to be the person you are today?
“Keep out of the suction caused by those who drift backwards.”
—attributed to E. K. Piper
Image from Pinterest
When I was in my early teens, I hung out with friends at the local bowling alley. Beyond pursuing our mastery of bowling, we also rode bikes, played wall ball, stick ball, hand ball, wire ball, and a game called “Chink,” which also included a ball.
Back then, if you had a ball, you were guaranteed entertainment all day.
When some of the older friends started driving and hormones kicked in, things began to shift. Their behaviors and language became unacceptable to the values I was taught by my parents and teachers. I could actually feel the negative backward drifts whenever I was encouraged to behave in similar ways.
Where do you currently feel the suction of selected individuals in either your personal or professional communities?
What steps must you take to eliminate this backward draft so you can continue pursuing your best future self?
“Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest.”
—Confucius, Ancient Chinese teacher and philosopher
Image from Disney Movies
I enjoy Disney movies – how about you?
My favorite over the last few years is Beauty and the Beast. A highlight of the animated and live actor versions is the “Be Our Guest” extravaganza.
Imagine how special and delightful it would be with the extraordinary level of service, attention, and delicious morsels of food offered at such an event.
How would your personal or professional world improve if you were to treat each and every one as a great guest you held with the highest regard?
“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.”
Image of SS Edmund Fitzgerald by NewsMax.com
As a citizen of Michigan, I greatly appreciate our five Great Lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. The lakes have been traversed by native people since the dawn of time, and by western man since the 17th century.
Thousands of ships have sunk in these waters, and an estimated 30,000 people have lost their lives as a result. The most famous was the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a Lake Superior storm in November, 1975, with the loss of the entire 29-member crew.
What personal and professional waters are you navigating these days? What stormy or rocky events are causing you to take on water and giving you that sinking feeling?
How and in what ways can you bail any water that has entered your worlds, and begin sailing toward calmer, more prosperous seas?
“Gossip is the Devil’s Radio.”
-George Harrison, member of The Beatles
Image from giantbomb.com
I clearly recall my parents emphasizing the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately, this altruistic idea is difficult when we desire to belong and fit in with our various communities.
Using the radio metaphor, where do you stand in your willingness to receive destructive transmissions? When do you initiate them? Given our hyper-connected social media world, these messages can spread like wildfire.
What if you choose to be an angel – rather than a devil- by sharing only positive, affirming messages today? What would be possible if we all engaged in this approach?
“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.”
-Mark Twain, pen name of American Writer Samuel Longhorne Clemens
image from activerain.com
Who do you trust the most in your personal and professional lives?
Please name a few people, then examine the basis you have for instilling this level of trust in them. How often do these individuals walk their talk? Do they consistently do what they say they will do?
Who in your world do you distrust? Again, name some names to add greater clarity to this exercise. How often do these individuals exhibit the adage, “Talk is Cheap”? How often do they over-promise and under-deliver?
Who within your personal or professional communities would place you on the first list rather than the second?
Consider taking my 10-minute Trust-o-Meter Assessment to examine the degree of trust you inspire in your friends, family, and colleagues.
“Put your light on the table where it can shine, without blinding others.”
Image from workwithreema.wordpress.com
Most people would agree that bragging, showing off, and calling excessive attention to ourselves are unbecoming traits. A question to ponder might be how do we toot our own horn without blowing it?
Perhaps if we simply consider our gifts, talents, and creative ideas as a form of light, we can use our own personal dimmer switch to tone things down a bit, not blind those around us, and offer them the opportunity to shine as well.
In what ways can you become more aware of how to contribute and illuminate various situations without blinding others in the process?
Consider looking for opportunities to help others shine and add their own contributions as well.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.”
—C. JoyBell C., American Philosophical Author
Image from csuiteinsider.com
I recently met two remarkable women at an event. Sam was one of the featured speakers at the event, and Pat was an event participant, as was I. They both shared their wondrous—and independent—stories of letting go of their possessions to travel the world more lightly.
Beyond the excitement and vitality conveyed in their adventures was the amazing, contagious impact the otters people at the conference experienced in hearing their stories. Many were inspired to “downsize” one or more aspect of their lives.
In what ways can you release and let go of the people and things that weigh down your life?
Select at least one specific action you will take within the next 24 hours to begin to lighten your load, and consider responding to this post with your decision.
“When you want to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water.”
Image from Flickr by Jeshua.nace
When was the last time you were in a heated argument with tempers flaring and things getting out of control? If you cannot recall a specific event, just turn on a local, national, or global news program to see plenty of examples!
Rarely do such interactions result in win/win outcomes. Most of the time, we are left with win/lose or lose/lose results.
When we consider how to put out undesirable fires, all we need to do is take a bit of coaching from professional fire-fighters: use water to reduce the temperature of burning materials and extinguish the flame.
What new and more constructive ways of dealing with heated situations can you find to produce a better result for everyone involved?