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Month November 2014

Barking up the wrong tree

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You get out of it what you put into it. Remember that old adage? It’s a recipe for life, isn’t it. If you want to be fit, you’ve got to put aside the time for training. If you want to be a success in business, you’ve got to invest in developing a solid strategy.  If you want to have great relationships… well you’ve got to turn up.

But what if you invest too much? Or in the wrong direction?

Could you be barking up the wrong tree?

I’ve seen people frustrated with what they’ve achieved or failed to achieve despite all the hard work they’ve put in. Have you ever reached a goal only to realise it’s not actually what you wanted to achieve? While intention and action are important, even more so is the course of your action. Because you need to check if the effort you are putting in is in line with your values.

Could you actually be overdoing it with too much effort?

Is that even possible?

It is if you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Take a successful business exec for instance. A massive income with recognised success but at what cost if working a 100 hour week is not what he values. Yes, he’s putting massive effort in, but is it directed toward getting what he values most? Maybe not if all he wants is to be around to see his kids grow up. Or the business owner investing lots of energy into developing the next ‘great idea’ only to find out later it’s already out of date. And then there’s the frustration of putting heaps of time and effort into loving the people around you, but if you’re not speaking their love language, you might miss the mark completely despite your best intentions.

While results are often proportional to the investment, massive effort on its own is certainly not a promise of success. Because you need to check that you’re actually on course. That your actions and efforts are aligned with your values and the very best strategy for achieving your goals.

Just like with sailors who have a destination in mind, we often need to adjust our sails to get there. Repeatedly.

Perhaps it’s time to take a look at what you’ve achieved. Is it where you want to be? If it is, congratulations! If it’s not, maybe this is a great opportunity to check on what you’ve been doing and tweak things a little to help you get to where you actually want to be.

Are you on course?

Where do you need to adjust your sails?

 

Becoming the Immovable Object

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There’s a silent protest going on this morning. With a police presence of two, it’s not what you would call disruptive. But it is impactful all the same. It’s hard to ignore people of Chinese background dressed in yellow with large banners calling for the persecution of Falun Gong to end. And for the illegal trafficking of human organs to stop.

Witnessing the protest this morning reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in a country that allows us to pursue our own spiritual beliefs and way of thinking with relative freedom. Some things we take for granted. Standing there silently, allowing their presence to speak for itself, it is difficult to comprehend the persecution of people that uphold truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. But then, that’s the history of the world, isn’t it.

Watching these people, I am reminded of Mary’s take on things when things are not right. ‘Be an immoveable object’, she says. Respectful yes, but grounded and immoveable when things just have to change. From first hand experience, the power in that is quite a force to be reckoned with. I’ve seen many people back down under that energy.

Sometimes the greatest strength is not physical. You only have to look at some of our greatest leaders to see that in action.

Where can you make things better by becoming an immoveable object?

Trust the universe

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I spoke with someone struggling last week with an unjust situation. It’s been going on for a while now and was coming to a head. Not surprisingly feelings of powerlessness and being out of control were letting resentment in. And while that’s just another feeling and needs to be validated, in my experience it’s not one we want to hold on to for very long either, because it can cause us massive damage internally.

My words to her – let the universe take care of him.

Not always easy I know. And I don’t mean do nothing. Do what you need to do to protect yourself and those you love. But know that the other person in the situation is here learning their life lessons too.

When we trust the universe to take care of things it takes a whole lot of load off our own shoulders, doesn’t it.

In trusting the universe to take care of them we can also protect ourselves from the damage that comes with resentment and anger. Not to mention the fact that the other person is already getting their just deserts… they have to live with themselves. And while the consequences of that may not be apparent at first, when you treat another human being with anything less than respect and love in the end it takes its toll.

I remember reading about a man in an horrific situation. One of the worst you could ever imagine. It was war and he watched helplessly as his family was shot dead while he was left alive. But he refused to hate the people that took his family from him. Instead, he practised love. Just how he did that remains to be told. But somehow he did it through all the years that followed while he was kept prisoner. At the end of the war the people that liberated him thought he must have only been there a short time because he was so much healthier than the others. But he’d actually been there for quite some time. The difference… those who felt anger and hatred, a very natural human response in those circumstances, aged more quickly than the man who despite everything, somehow found it within him to practise love.

Where can you let the universe take care of things?

Where can you practise more love?

Love in action

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You may never know how far a good deed will reach…

Last week, I heard that Sir Nicholas Winton was awarded the Order of the White Lion for saving hundreds of Jewish children from almost certain death in Nazi concentration camps. Now 105 years old, his heroic actions took place so long ago, we can actually see the impact it has had. Generations of impact.

And it all began with a thought. A simple decision to take a trip to Nazi occupied Europe because he was concerned with what was happening there. He wasn’t an official, he wasn’t a peacekeeper, he wasn’t involved in Amnesty International. He was an ordinary bloke who was concerned for his fellow man, woman and child. And what he found was so disturbing to him that he decided to do what he could to help. What he did is nothing short of astounding. Because Sir Nicholas organised the rescue of 669 children, taking each of them by train to Britain and finding foster homes to care for them. I’m pretty sure most of their parents weren’t so fortunate. And he didn’t give up when the going got tough. So strong was his conviction that something must be done, he found a way forward… and he succeeded.

Time has allowed us the gift of seeing what this act of love and bravery has achieved. There are today an estimated 6000 people around the world that owe their very existence to this one man. The Czech government has honoured Sir Nicholas because he gave their children “the greatest possible gift: the chance to live and be free”.

Think you’re too small to make a difference?

Think again.

How many lives could you touch with your love in action?

 

I work on the motto that if something is not impossible,

there must be a way of doing it.

– Sir Nicholas Winton-