“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?
“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?
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.
“The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before your death.”
—Osho, Mystic Guru and Spiritual Leader
Image from znanje.org
Over twenty years ago I attended a seminar with almost 200 other people. The session leader posed the question:
Why do most people wake up in the morning?
After the audience provided all the expected responses such as to go to work, or to start the new day, he shared his own thought, which was:
People wake up in the morning because they did not die in their sleep.
When the shock of his answer dissipated from the audience, we began a most interesting and engaging inquiry into what it means to be fully alive. Common aspects of being “fully alive” included traveling, learning, extraordinary relationships, spiritual pursuits, and making a bigger difference in the world.
What adjustments and changes are you willing to make in your life to cause you to enthusiastically and energetically bound out of bed each morning?
What one action will you take immediately to build this into a life-changing habit?
“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.