Today, we shall be looking at “How to Live Your Life Meaningfully”
Live for others
Selfish person thinks about I, me and myself alone, other people’s interest is not considered. Thinking about others is considered a sign of maturity. We make a living by what we get and make a life by what we give.
By desiring everything for yourself, where are you going to keep it? In our local parlance, we usually say “chop alone and die alone”. That is to say, when you are self centred, you face the consequences of your actions alone. Until you begin to think of others’ welfare, you are not there yet, no matter how much money you have breathing in the bank or tied up somewhere as asset. Until you learn how to bless people, you remain a pauper.
The ultimate of every talent is to be a blessing not just to be blessed by it. My philosophy in life has always been that what comes my way is not for me alone. I believe the reason God blesses me is to reach out to others.
Until you reach out to others, you are not yet rich. Reaching out to others makes you richer. Moreover, when you reach out to others, you are planting a seed. When you plant, you will definitely reap. Seed planting can never be in vain.
My hand will rather be up dripping the showers than being a cup collecting the drops of water from the shower.
Kent Nerburn was a taxi driver. According to him “twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.
Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.
“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.
The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”
“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me.
It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers.”
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Living for other’s joy makes all the difference!
Do not use your talent to promote evils
Evil is a fruit of wickedness and the wicked will never go unpunished! Unfortunately, many use their talents for wrong and negative reasons. William Shakespeare says “the evil that men do lives after them” but I tell you the evil that men do lives with and on them.
Evil is like pointing at someone else. While the index finger is pointing at your target, the last three others are pointing back to you, the thumb is pointing and reporting to God in heaven. The import of this is that for every evil conceived against someone else, three times the repercussion comes back to the person who thinks the evil.
Live promoting the good of others.
Do not be a pessimist, be an optimist
Life is all about how you view it. While an optimist tries to look at the bright and positive side of life, a pessimist looks at the dark and negative side of it. Ask a pessimist to describe a cup having its content half way up and he will tell you the cup is half empty but an optimist will tell you it is half full.
For me, I will rather be an optimist rather than a pessimist. View it as half empty and experience emptiness but when you view it as half full, you partake of the fullness.
A story is told of six blind men who were asked to describe what an elephant looked like. They were made to feel different parts of the elephant’s body and each gave the description based on the part he felt.
The one who felt the leg said the elephant was like a pillar; the one who felt the tail said the elephant was like a rope; the one who felt the trunk said the elephant was like a tree branch; the one who felt the ear said the elephant was like a hand fan; the one who felt the belly said the elephant was like a wall; and the one who felt the tusk said the elephant was like a solid pipe.
The significance of this story lies in the fact that each of the six blind men correctly described the elephant based on what they felt on the body of the elephant and based their conclusion on that. Many of us fall into the trap of half hearted description like these blind men as a result of what we are feeling. It is not much of what we are feeling but getting the totality of the event at hand.
What you are describing could be just one sixth of the complete picture. It is not enough to conclude your life based on what you are going through now.
Do you still remember the story of the mother lice and her babies? A man went to take his bath and poured warm water on his head and the babies cried to their mother that the water was burning them. The mother simply comforted them that soon that warm water would cool. Soon as their mother said, the cold breeze blew over the head and the heat died down. That heat heating you up will soon cool off, so don’t give it a name.
Be an optimist, the heat will soon be over.
Our life is a network of events which we call memories. Right from the day you were born, things started happening to you and in your lives. Some you remember, some you don’t remember or you choose not to remember. Some bitter and some are sweet. Some pleasant and some terrible!
It is not so much of what happens to you that determines the quality of life you live, but rather the way you choose to take it. Though you may be helpless in what happens to you, you most certainly have control over how you interpret what happens, and in what you choose to do about it. These choices make all the difference in how you experience your lives and world.
Likewise, what you own has little or no role in the quality of life you live. Material possessions and power may give you temporary happiness, not joy. The man with all the money and possessions in the world may have a miserable life, while the man in rags and can barely feed himself and family may be in control of his life.
It is what you do with your talent which ultimately translates to what you own that affects the quality and joy of your life. It’s not what you possess or what happens to you in life that matters, but rather what you do with your natural ability to force the unfolding events in your favour.
Every moment something is happening in your life. And every moment you make interpretations or judgments about what happens. By choosing to become more conscious of how you react to what happens, you can shift towards what you really want in your life. Rather than following habitual, reactive patterns which lead to more of the same, you can recognize and transform your old habits to move powerfully in the direction of creating the life you really want. Yet to do this, you must first find the courage to look inwards to what powers lay inside of you.
According to Newton’s first law of motion “every object in a state of uniform motion or at rest tends to remain in that state unless an external force is applied to it”. Everything in life requires force to change its course and events in your life are no exception.
Like it or not, you are given many opportunities in life and your choice definitely determines the results you get at the end of the day. When you choose to be a victim, the world is a cold and harsh place. “They” did things to you which caused all of your pains and sufferings. “They” are wrong and bad, and life is rotten as long as “they” are around. “They” are not giving you the opportunity to express yourself fully. “They” are suppressing your potentials and your gifts.
“They” might be one or more individuals in your family or community. It might be the terrible politicians or your boss or the evil cabal of the power elite that rules the world. Or even a witch in your village or your father’s other wives extending the battles with your mother to you the offspring of your mother. The essence is that “they” are to blame for all your problems, because “they” are ruining your life.
It’s all lies!
Take responsibility for your choice in life. You remain the pilot of your life’s aircraft; give control to somebody else and crash-land. For me, I take full responsibility for every single thing that happens in my life. I believe I have power to determine the course of my life, not someone else. And the truth is, your life is likely to stay that way as long as you see “them” as having control and yourself as the powerless victim.
When Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela were put behind bars by those who wanted to control them, they used that opportunity to meditate, to write letters and books, and to inspire their communities to stand up and make a difference in the world. In fact they dominated and were in control through and through. They were unstoppable, powerful creators who continued to have a very high quality of life until the day they died.
None of us is perfect. We all have made and will continue to make mistakes and bad choices in our lives. When we fail, there is no need to blame ourselves or anyone else. We can choose to simply accept that we didn’t do what we had intended and then work to understand why, so that we might do better the next time. Notice that when you start blaming others, you stop for a moment. Take a look inside and ask, “Is it really empowering me to be blaming someone else, even though I may be right and they are wrong? Is this the quality of life I want, or is there something better and more fulfilling?
This is the beginning of the healing process!
If you are struggling with any of these, remember you are not alone. We are all in it together working hard to help you heal.
- The world is turmoil;
- The world is in crisis;
- The world is sick;
- The world is dis-eased
- The world is in search of answers;
- The world needs healing;
- Together we can heal the world.
For me I will keep talking and I will keep writing. Friends:
- I will keep encouraging you,
- I will keep motivating you,
- I will keep supporting you,
- I will keep standing by you and
- I will keep telling you the truth that:
- you can make it,
- you can become whatever you want to become in life,
- you can achieve whatever you want to achieve,
- you can have whatever you want to have and
- you can go wherever you want to go.
All I ask of you is to keep dreaming the dreams, keep having the visions, keep believing in yourself and keep moving and keep acting on those visions and dreams.
This is why I wrote an internationally acclaimed book “Putting Your Talent to Work” published by Authorhouse, UK and available on kindle-ebooks, google, amazon.co.uk and authorhouse.oc.uk. The book is also in about seven international languages including English, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, French and Portuguese.
For counseling, appointment and invite or to order for “Putting You Talent to Work” call 07064334855, 08117848934 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter: @odelord; Facebook: Ode Idoko and LinkedIn: Ode Idoko; skype: ode.idoko