It seems like much of the world is divided, distrustful, and fearful of one another. It’s evident on the evening news, in social media, and out in public. But does it have to be like this? Is this really the type of world we have to live in? I don’t think so.
So how do we start to change the culture of our communities, our countries, and our world?
I was at a black history month event on Tuesday evening when I heard someone give their answer to this question. Simply put, they said, “Get to know someone who is different from you.” I love this response because it is so simple, yet so significant.
When we earnestly get to know someone different from us, with the motivation to understand them better, we become less fearful and distrustful of them, because we now have a frame of reference. It’s easy to fear and distrust what we don’t know or have never come in contact with.
Here’s an interesting thought to ponder: There is probably someone who is fearful of you, because you are different from them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could alleviate the fear in others simply by being open, welcoming ambassadors of whatever group we represent?
Here’s some life-long homework for all of us:
- Get in the habit of regularly interacting with someone who is different from you.
- Become a welcoming ambassador for whatever group you represent.
We can either increase fear or distrust in ourselves and others, or we can do our best to decrease these feelings by doing our homework.
The world could use a lot less fear and distrust among its inhabitants. Let’s all make sure to get our homework done.
Here in the Pacific Northwest spring has been doing its best to send winter to an early retirement. Daffodils have started blooming and I even mowed my lawn last week! This false start to spring is getting me excited for the upcoming spring (for real), summer, and fall months. It reminds me that if I have any activities or things I’d like to accomplish this year, I need to take actions to cause them to happen.
I love traveling, hiking, and just getting out and doing things, but I realize that if I don’t put these types of activities on the calendar and cause them to happen, they often won’t. I think it’s like that for most of us. We have intentions to do X, Y, and Z, but get busy with day-to-day stuff and put off planning those activities that are important to us. If left unchecked for days, weeks, months, or even years, we realize that we haven’t done any of those activities and all we have to show are unfulfilled intentions.
Last year was a year where I actually committed to getting my intentions on the calendar and making them happen. It was a wonderful year of learning, travel, new experiences, and great memories. I’m eager to make 2018, and the years ahead, more like 2017. Years not only filled with great intentions, but years where my intentions are validated with commitments to making them happen.
What intentions do you have for 2018 and the years ahead? Now the really important question: What are you going to do to cause them to happen?
“The best way to increase our clarity in a topic is to commit to teaching it to others.”
I currently serve on our church board, and part of that responsibility is to read and interpret our financial statements. While I have been pretty good at doing this, I’ve noticed that several of our other board members struggle in this area. So in an effort to bring clarity, I began creating an instruction sheet to help them learn to read the financials.
The process of creating these instructions brought additional clarity to me in a couple of areas where I didn’t understand our financials as well as I thought. That’s one of the great things about committing to teach: you have to have a clear understanding of the topic before you can clearly communicate it to others.
Whether it’s creating instructions or verbally explaining a concept, teaching others is a great way to bring clarity to others, as well as ourselves.
I love the fact that there are so many interesting topics to learn about! While the list of topics we can take an interested in could easily fill multiple blog posts, I think the most important topic each of us should spend time studying… is ourselves.
If we’re interested in living a fulfilling and satisfying life, we need to regularly spend time understanding how we’re uniquely wired. This can come through reading about behaviors and habits we’d like to embody, taking (and reflecting on) self-assessments, and journaling. While this is not a comprehensive list to self-discovery, it is a good starting point.
As you begin learning about yourselves, you start to discover things like:
- When are you at your best?
- When are you at your worst?
- What captures your heart?
- What were you uniquely created to do?
- How do your respond to stress?
- What do you do better than most other people?
- What should you avoid doing?
- What are some areas of your character that you need to improve?
- When do you feel most alive?
- What drains you?
- Where in your life are you living below your ability??
The more we understand how we’re created and what makes us tick, the better we can decide how to invest our lives during the years we’re blessed with. Because it’s challenging to know what to do with something when we don’t understand how it works.