Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Believing in something bigger than ourselves

This is Forbes magazine's quote for the day today:

"If you only think about your own advancement, your own success, you run out of fuel pretty quickly. But if we believe in something bigger than ourselves, that kind of motivation is self-sustaining".

Elaine Chao,
U.S. Secretary of Transportation

If we believe in something bigger than ourselves.....Our grandparents and great-grandparents and many in their generation looked at life in this way. In the present time, I am sure there are those who would proclaim loudly that they believe in something bigger than themselves--God, country and family. That's fine. It's just that for a good number of them, their belief is not generous, not expansive, not inclusive. For them, it's about excluding what they don't want in their lives and in their country. It's about xenophobia and hatred of the unknown. And they use God to back them up. Those are not the people who rebuilt Europe after WWII, and certainly not the people who built the USA into the great nation it is. But our country's image is tarnished. I'm not going into a discussion of why; I'll leave that to another blog post. Suffice it to say that it is generosity of spirit that made America a great country, not xenophobia and hatred. The latter have always existed, but great presidents like FDR made sure that a lid was kept on them. 'We have lost our way', as an elderly woman visiting FDR's home (Springwood) said to me and my friend Jean when we were visiting there. She would know; she experienced WWII and the horrors it brought.

The quote above is mostly applied to modern workplaces. But it can be applied to our daily lives as well. We need to get over ourselves; we are not an invincible nation, and we won't be at all if we continue down the path we are going. We need a leader who inspires us to greater things; one who takes the focus off himself, his family, his wealth, and his character weaknesses. We don't really need to constantly see and hear what's rotten under the surface; we know. We need a leader who rather espouses values that appeal to our minds and souls and hearts. If the talk is only about hatred and revenge, then our lives will only be about that. If the talk is about generosity of spirit, a will to communicate, and a will to consider others' life circumstances, then our lives will be about that. It is a simple equation that I learned early on (in a work setting): "Garbage in, garbage out". The natural extension is "Decency in, decency out". We need to believe in something outside ourselves, because at present, we're being filled up with garbage, and we need to find a way to empty ourselves of it before it is too late. The media too need to find a way to motivate and inspire themselves and us to be better people. We need to stop taking the hatred bait and to rather espouse, and continue to espouse, the importance of decency and respect. It's slow-going, but it will go a long way toward overcoming the current situation that has most decent people up in arms.

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