Imagine for a moment that you are disabled. You have lost all functions in your limbs. In this condition, how can you create the best version of you?
Would it be possible for you to live a joyful life? To be an inspiration to others? To be a leader? To be a successful person?
Many leaders have thrived despite facing enormous physical, emotional, or mental challenges. Nelson Mandala liberated South Africa despite spending 27 years in prison; Stephen Hawking continues to travel and advance scientific discoveries despite having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Jewel Kilcher continues to become a renowned singer-songwriter, author, and champion for women’s causes despite suffering abuse and neglect as a child, and her mother stealing millions of dollars from her.
We are not limited by our conditions. We are only limited by our own beliefs.
One belief that I find most common in creating our misery is that belief that we will be happy after we attain a certain goal – a specific job, a certain amount of wealth, a loving relationship, an ideal weight, etc. When we hold on to this goal-specific mindset, we develop tunnel vision solely focused on what we don’t have.
The scarcity fills our every thought. We forget how to be happy.
What if, instead, you shift the tunnel vision from “How can I achieve this external goal?” to “How can I live my values?”
Ask yourself: What values do I represent that make me feel proud of the person I am? How can I be this person every moment, every day?
When we are solely focused on being our best and behaving in accordance with our values, the outcome we seek is being a better human being, and not achieving an external (or material) goal that builds our egos. Knowing that we are striving to be the best version of ourselves is enough to feel successful and joyful every moment of every day, regardless of external outcomes.
However, doing so is not easy. External triggers that reinforce the need to keep up with the Joneses run abound in our society. And certainly, if you have a family relying on you to feed them, it is hard not to focus on the external goal of making enough money. Yet, if we focus on a value such as perseverance - instead of an external goal such as money - we can feel good about who we are regardless of whether we achieved the specific external goal.
Peter Drucker, the Father of Modern Management, said that integrity is the single most central characteristic of a leader. Integrity is the ability to act in accordance to one’s values.
At the root of our human existence, we are just a bundle of molecular energy. Can we remind ourselves each morning of the kind of energy we want to represent? How would that change your day?
I have many values, and my core values are love and joy. No matter what challenges I face in the future – physical, emotional or mental, I know I can continue to focus on being loving and joyful. Nothing external can take that away from me. I am fully empowered to channel loving and joyful energy regardless of where life takes me.
What energy/values do you represent?
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