Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finding the Pearl Oysters live inside hard shells and have soft, sensitive bodies. When a grain of sand pushes into the shell, the oyster experiences great agony. If the oyster is unable to remove the painful irritant, it tries another approach and coats the sand with layers of soft iridescent mother of pearl. Thus what was initially an annoyance is transformed, over time, into a beautiful object of great value. The same thing happens to each of us when faced with life’s irritations. We have the choice to react in pain and agony or find a way to use the problem/challenge to create something of value. The merchandiser, J. C. Penney, was challenged as the seventh of twelve children in a very poor family. He decided to use his capacity for enterprise to get what he wanted. Consequently Penney raised and sold pigs to buy his school clothes. The undertaking that created a practical solution for purchasing school clothes, eventually expanded into a lucrative business, J.C. Penney department stores. Joe was Chief Engineer at a company that was downsizing. When he lost his job, he was momentarily sad until he realized that finally he had the time and opportunity to start his own business. Had Joe’s job not been eliminated, he would never have pursued entrepreneurship. Joe ultimately developed a successful business, created greater personal freedom and fulfilled his dreams. All this evolved from a situation that was initially an irritant. There are pearls hidden in every situation. They are the seeds of a new way (career, relationship, business, hobby, process). The choice is to be a victim of circumstances or an opportunist. Recognizing opportunity requires vision, willingness, courage, effort, determination, and action. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to find the pearls? ______________________________________
The Spirit of Heroism The Persian poet, Rumi described an incident after a forest fire. The fire fighters spotted a bird sitting upright in a nest high in a burnt tree. The bird was covered in ash. They could not believe that the bird was sitting upright and not lying down in the nest. So they climbed the tree to investigate. They found the bird sitting straight up with its wings spread out covering her three chicks, who survived the fire. The bird had been burned alive because she chose to stay in her nest and protect her chicks. Within every being exists this spirit of heroism. It calls on the willingness to see a greater ideal than your own small self. Martin Luther King Jr. described this spirit of heroism when he said, “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he would die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Jean de la Fontaine spoke of heroism when he said, “Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.” A while back, the Australian actor, Mel Gibson, produced, directed, and starred in the movie, Braveheart about a Scottish leader, William Wallace. Gibson said that stories of ancient heroism are an effort “to raise ourselves above the normal level of things. There is a sense of something higher in all of us. I don’t care who you are.” In the movie, after routing the opposing force of 50,000 in the first battle of Stirling, the newly knighted Wallace delivers a lecture on the responsibility of rank to Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King. “What does it mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country. But men don’t follow titles. They follow courage! Just lead them to freedom, and they will follow you.” There is meaning here for the relationships in your life -- parent-child, executive-employee, friend to friend. As you demonstrate the spirit of heroism in your daily affairs, you inspire yourself and others to live from that sense of higher purpose that is within each of us.