I was dropping my daughter at school the other day and noticed a hand made sign just outside the classroom. It read ‘Who I Am Makes A Difference’. And it got me thinking.
The sign has been put there because the default setting is the opposite: I am insignificant, I am powerless, I do not make a difference. Does everyone operate on the default setting? No. Does it mean that many many people, probably the majority, operate on the default setting? Yes.
Given that you and I do not come into this world thinking one thing or another how is it that the default within us becomes ‘I am insignificant, I am powerless, who I am does not make a difference’? Clearly this default gets set in the home and in the school.
If we wake up in the morning and boot up with the operating system called ‘Who I am does NOT make a difference’ then how are we likely to behave? First and most important as sheep, as followers: we search for and follow authority figures. Second, we be slot into games and parts that others have created and assigned to us rather than creating the games and parts we want to play. Third, we think, act and feel like victims – at the mercy of other people and circumstances. Fourth, we are unlikely to be generous, caring, inspiring towards any non-authority figures – they are insignificant as well. Finally, we will not take good care of ourselves.
If on the other hand I woke up and played the game of ‘Who I am makes a difference’ I would strive to be someone – to be an authority figure. Because I have learnt that authority figures get to create the games, make the rules and get the best parts for themselves. Clearly, a small minority of us will – through determination or luck – get into authority. Once there we will strive to keep that authority and grow it. Knocking on our inner door will be the hand of fear – fear of losing our authority and the privileges that go with it.
Personally, I advocate playing the game of ‘Who I am (being) makes a difference’. The key to this game is being. At all times and under all circumstances my being is entirely in my hands. Furthermore, it is impossible to not be. I am being bold or not. I am being inspiring or not. I am being generous or not. I am being helpful or not. I am being active or not. I am being resourceful or not. I am being passionate or not. I am being relaxed or not.
If I played the game of ‘Who I am (being) makes a difference’ I would be mindful of:
- Eating – what I eat, how much I eat, how I eat, who I eat with;
- Thoughts: what thoughts arise and keep arising
- Story Telling – the stories I tell myself (and others) about myself, about others, reality, life;
- Resource Allocation – where I spend my time, my attention, my resources – self, family, tribe, humanity, life;
- Health – state of my health and particularly the role and extent of physical exercising;
- Being – who I am being and how I deal with the high’s and low’s
- Posture – how I physically carry myself during the day;
- Voice – the tone of my voice;
- Feeling – what feelings arise, which I covet and which I ignore;
- Mindfulness – being present, being aware, being mindful of the game I am playing, the results that are showing up.
The challenge with playing the game of ‘Who I am (being) makes a great difference’ is to keep being and doing in the foreground – together, simultaneously. In ordinarily living – at least in the West – doing is in the foreground and being is lost in the background.