In the wake of the events that have occurred across the nation this week (Boston Marathon bombings, West, TX Plant Explosion, ricin poison mailed to politicians, just to name a few), it seems as if many people I speak with are asking what’s next, as if we’re all waiting for the sky to fall or the floor to cave in beneath us.
While in moments of tragedy my generation is often reminded by the legacy of Mr. Rogers to ‘look for the helpers’, it’s times like these that I am also reminded of the words of Mahatma Ghandi,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
At any moment in our lives when we are faced with difficulty, with struggle, with pain, we always have a choice in how we feel and how we move forward. And some days it can be the most difficult struggle of our lives without anyone knowing how hard it is to take a deep breath and make a choice to be positive and to take a step towards action that will propel us forward when so many troubles weigh us down.
Whether we struggle with finding a job, an argument with a family member, making a sale, getting customers excited about a product, or with a national (and global) tragedy, we have a choice in what we believe, what we say, how we act, the habits we repeat, the values we project, and what becomes our legacy. There will always be tragedy, always hardship, but we have a choice on where we focus our attention.
We do this quietly each day on our own, developing the pieces and parts of ourselves that make up who we are to the outer world. But times like these, we have a special opportunity to do this together. We have an chance to come together to talk to one another, to learn, to grow, and to extract the good and project the positive to uplift one and other.
I challenge everyone, not only in the aftermath of what we’ve experience together these past few days, but each and every day to grow, to learn, and build from a constructive place inside each of us, to allow our beliefs to lead us to encouraging thoughts, to let those thoughts bring forth kind and helpful words, to permit those words to motivate us to take action, and let those worthy actions become our daily habits.
In those habits we will find value in our paths, and when we get to the end of our journeys, our vocation in life will have meant something because each day, great or small, we will have inspired positive change not only in ourselves but in those we encounter–we will have been each other’s helpers knowingly or not.
No matter how insignificant we may feel some days; our lives do not go unnoticed. We all matter, we all make a difference, and we can all affect change. With that, I leave you with a few words of others that might inspire you today:
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
“We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate…Either we let self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless.” –Christopher Reeve
“Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.” – Susan Taylor
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bern William