“Only dead fish go with the flow.

Anonymous

FIERCELY AWARE: The Call to Get Fierce: 1.3.1

Don’t Be Typical

It would seem as if it would be commonplace, but you are swimming against the current when you focus on what is strong versus what is wrong either in yourself or others. It is decidedly countercultural.  The other day I picked up my phone and the headlines in my news alerts announced “The U.S. Tried To Turn Some Russian Oligarchs Into Sources,” “Malaysia Canes Two Women” and “Why Theresa May is a Modern-Day Rasputin.”  And last night I thought I would find a new series to watch on Netflix. Searching for the ten most watched programs, the results included: Breaking Bad, House of Cards, American Horror Story, Narcos, and Making a Murderer.  Clearly, these moments haven’t reminded me of human goodness!

Of course, these titles don’t tell the whole story of our culture, but they do signal why a focus on love, kindness, gratitude and other character strengths can seem out of the ordinary, even abnormal, and therefore, why fierceness is required.

Being fierce doesn’t have anything to do with being aggressive and it certainly doesn’t include anything close to bluster. It’s about being committed, persistent, unyielding and quietly determined to reach for human goodness at every turn.  It is about staking a claim to what you know is important even as you face resistance. The quiet radicals who exemplify fierce character include extraordinary individuals, such as the:

      • custodian who made it her job to greet each and every middle school student every morning…no matter how surly they might be!
      • leadership team members who took pay cuts to avoid layoffs, even though staff will never know.
      • person who stood by a friend in crisis through failed attempts at rehab until he didn’t fail.
      • teacher that coached students in math over the summer, absent any directive from the school, to ensure they are ready to succeed in the autumn.
      • manager who took time to consider people when policy dictated something else.

 

 

And it is in the heartbreaking but brilliant words of a grieving mother who lost her only daughter in a car accident on a holiday weekend.  Lucy Hone, author of Resilient Grieving, shares that while in the unimaginable loss of her precious daughter she had no choice, she could, and would, make choices going forward. She would be absolutely fierce in her resolve to be proactive, asserting “intentional control over thoughts and actions” as she pieced life back together.  She would refuse unhelpful blame and anger and keep herself and her family moving forward and into life.  In her bid to survive the loss of her daughter, she would fiercely choose love over hate.

Read why we need to transcend evolution to reach for human goodness next.