Saturday, November 23, 2013

The pervasiveness of contradiction

Seduction and repulsion love and hate. Happiness and sadness, war and peace. Excitement and inertia, Innovation and tradition. Concern and indifference, thought and vacuity. Opinion and fact, fantasy and reality. Imagination and substance, creation and ruin. Engagement and surrender, involvement and abandonment. Crime and good character, cruelty and kindness, punishment and reward. Strength and weakness, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Do these words reflect the world, or more our personal daily lives? Could this all be found within one person, home, community, country or continent? It sure sounds like words describing many people, but this could just be a description of internal occurrences within one mind. Simply put, life is full of contradiction, seen or unseen, the internal conflict constantly, frequently and silently simmering, or even blatantly raging, raving and ranting. External calm does not excuse one from this conflict, for even in silence it still rages on. The internal quest to decide, determine, establish and resolve the components of one’s daily life and take action that gives desired outcomes. The internal battle to dominate undesired emotions and actions from taking root. The resolve to stem out behavior that can derail progression. While contradiction may seem retrogressive, it is needed at some point, the key being giving due consideration to each course of action and the potential outcome it may give. Wisdom is required to choose the right course of action to obtain positive results.

Image adapted here

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Avoiding the sign post syndrome

A sign post is a sign that gives information about directions or distances and is typically found at a road junction or crossroads. Crossroads being a point where a crucial decision needs to be made which may have far reaching implications. The fact that a sign post gives directions and gets people to their destination, does not mean that the sign post has been to the place it speaks of. It is a stagnant sign that merely lets people get to their places of interest and enjoy the benefits of arrival. Sometimes the sign post rusts and starts to lose its informational value with time. I have thought of an analogy about people in life who are like sign posts. They have gathered a lot of information which they know and can direct you where you are going quite accurately, but they themselves have never been there. They carry all the directions and time lines to your destination and can get you there, but they themselves stay at the crossroads failing to make the decision to move towards something great. I encourage you today to avoid being a sign post. Do not be content speaking of places you have never been or getting people to where you will never go. There is nothing wrong with helping others to go places, be great and achieve great things, but there is a lot wrong with not telling of your own experiences while having been there when you speak. So how do you avoid being a sign post? I think three important points stand out which can help. Firstly you need to do something, anything to create momentum. Start with what you have to get you where you want to go while helping others on the way if possible. This means purposefully moving towards something through focused effort and not just merely intending to move. Secondly, get moving and pursue those goals that you want to achieve in your life. Avoid only talking about places and things that you have not yourself pursued. Lastly keep your information up to date through continuous learning and sharing of that information with others. Information is one of the things that one can share while still retaining all of it. Today I challenge you to move from being a sign post, to actually progressing towards that which you have been directing others to so that you may also share in the benefits thereof.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Overcoming the hold of the past

A lot of people are criticised and blamed for living in the past. They are taunted for their lack of reformation and progression. Draining their strength, efforts and thoughts on past misfortune. Historically disadvantaged backgrounds, epic past errors, lost opportunities, bad judgements leading to bad decisions. The list is endless and the reasons given are many. Someone once said the reason why a rear view mirror is small and a windscreen large is to give more focus to the destination while being mindful of what is behind. Stories abound of people with not so good a past who have overcome it to be successful against all odds. They have let go of baggage from the past and moved on. Soldiering on to become recognised and respected icons in their fields of influence in the quest of determining a better and desired destiny different and detached from that which life gave them. Vision, attitude and courage are all they clung onto. The past they let go, only looking to their destiny. With vision, attitude and courage they have soared. Turned sorrow to joy and mourning to dancing. Examples abound of such people who have overcome. Whether they be black or white, orphans or paralymbians, previously abused, deemed stupid and good for nothing, made to believe they would amount to nothing in their lives. With their most valuable asset, self worth, crushed and destroyed, they had HOPE for a different future from that predestined by their past and they explored and pursued it. They are there and we have seen them rise to their destiny. They all have a different past but this did not kill their vision, but became a reason for changing direction and being determined for the future. It became a good solid reference point and a point of departure as to why they pursued greatness the way they did. So that when they finally achieved greatness in due season, the past was relevant, but not a restraint to greatness. This, making the success more amplified and significant. Hence their success had nothing to do with the past, it had everything to do with their quest to succeed and overcome the past.

Image adapted from Kate Ter Haa

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life maintains value

Why is there celebration when a child is born? Why do we ululate and congratulate a new birth, with expensive unique gifts for the new mother? Guests travel long distances to see the new born and share the joys thereof. Life is precious that is why it is celebrated. A new mother is pampered and allowed to indulge in her accomplishment, with some mothers even getting many months off work. Life does not choose background, geography, language or colour. It is granted to the most remote of communities to nurture and flourish. It is given to the sophisticated world as new hope for the future. Is it true that life has such great value, when people are shot, stabbed and killed as is happening nowadays and without remorse? Across the board a lack of respect for life flourishes in today's world and most times for no apparent reason. What happened to the celebrated life that was born? What happened to the hope for the future that was to be? What happened to the indulgence and butterflies of joy? Why is life suddenly discounted in all seasons, to the extent that it is taken without remorse and shame, to the extent that it is at times deemed legitimate to take it away. Does even commerce discount merchandise in all seasons? Is it not the same sacrosanct life that was celebrated at birth, showered with gifts, pampered and nurtured? Is it not the same life that brought jubilation to a community? Life maintains value despite where it is lived. It maintains sacredness despite diverse differences and varied opinions. Life maintains value because it comes divine and cannot be replaced. It is special despite race, colour or creed.