“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
NELSON, RUTH AND YOU
Nelson Mandela personified FORGIVENESS
Annie Leibovitz embodies CREATIVITY
Malala Yousafzai is a symbol of BRAVERY
Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the soul of JUDGEMENT
Rafael Nadal epitomizes ZEST
It is easy to be star struck by the outsized accomplishments of Rafael Nadal and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even fun to imagine the roaring crowd that greets Nadal whenever he walks out on the court or how exhilarating it must feel to have Ginsberg’s fan club. But oftentimes the consequence of these thoughts is that we compare our relatively ‘ordinary’ life to theirs and find it- and ourselves- lacking. This negative afterimage leaves us blind to our own strengths. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Each and every one of us can, in a thousand small ways every day, positively shape our lives, the lives of those around us, and our shared future.
This may surprise you, but in their potential for human goodness, these people are no different from you or me or anyone else on the planet. Creativity, zest, and kindness reside in all of us, along with gratitude, love, perseverance, curiosity, fairness, and hope. They may be underutilized, but they are present. Our strengths are the best part of our shared humanity, acting as invisible threads connecting us to one another.
Imagine the following possibilities. What if your:
- new next-door neighbor risks personal injury to save your twelve-year-old dog from a rushing stream?
- organization restructures the company bonus plan to include – not just executives at the level above you – but all employees?
- car gets a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and you discover the spare has a flat, too (could totally be me!). But another driver stops to help and repairs it enough to get you to the closest auto repair shop?
- brother decides that he is ready to end his long-standing feud with your parents and join the family for the upcoming holiday?
- community, beleaguered by blight, holds a town hall event to discuss the issue, and the enthusiasm of a group of high school art students inspires a community-wide beautification effort?
That would add up to a pretty fantastic day, week, month, or even year, right? But guess what would make it even better? What if you were the initiator in one of these scenarios? What if you chose to exemplify bravery, zest, creativity, judgement and kindness? What if you were able to tap into the best of yourself, your own signature strengths, every day? Research suggests that nearly every area of your life would be positively affected including your sense of engagement and meaning, your relationships, your performance at work, and your physical and mental well-being. That is what this series is all about and I hope you will join me for it! Read what is required here.
(If it’s of interest to know why my personal story, you can read it here)