Tuesday 5 May 2015

Our compass. Which way is it pointing?

Many of us today have the inclination that humanity out there is being tested in every single direction albeit from an economic, environmental, or moral standpoint. Our businesses small, medium and large are being squeezed, with very tight budgets and much smaller margins. Our USP’s are no longer what they used to be. Competitiveness becomes very tricky. Loyalty is a bygone word. Trust and integrity such intrinsic values that were once so valuable that reflected our respected structures and institutions have been battered and quite frankly whilst many people agree there is a lack of respect in our leaders everywhere. France, UK, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece and Holland and even the EU. Is the rumble of change under our feet?

It is also very difficult for many of us to know where to look and to understand which way the wind is blowing as our anxieties and fears tend to increase.

My generation who grew up in the 70s and 80s are learning fast from the great recession which I might add is a good thing. Those of us who perhaps had a taste of, or were used to, the good life earlier this century (and the last), have had to wake up, do some thinking, come to terms with some of the foolishness of our past, assume our own responsibilities and get some of our priorities right.  In making the necessary sacrifices this is essential in order to live in the present to build those necessary inner resources and if need be offer those a helping hand in so as we can inspire ourselves and others to move ahead in our careers and private lives with confidence and with hope. 

Infact there are still several questions whose answers I still need to spend time to figure out in today’s culture.  The questions that remain a concern; Is it not possible that once you put yourself on a pedestal however lonely it might be up there, that we can remain coherent to whom we are in the good sense of the word? How is it that the powerful mainstream media create such false people who put themselves in the limelight for others to look up to?  Why is it that when something goes wrong it is always others or circumstances that are to blame? And our politicians or those who have power and influence, why do they so often have to compromise their own integrity making them look fundamentally weak or even at times unpleasant or dishonourable? And then how is it that so many of these same types are unable to see beyond the palm of their hands? And finally why can’t our children play openly in the streets?

To attempt to answer some of these tricky questions, I suspect it is to do in part that we build walls around us. It is in our nature. We always have done. Not just our inner walls but our outer walls too. We build these walls to protect ourselves because we are vulnerable. We are vulnerable because we all make mistakes and hide from them.  It is that vulnerability that we fear the most which can only imply that the greatest enemy is in us, more so than what is out there. By which the only solution through sheer logic is to build on our inner resources to allow us to me more open, assertive, forgiving and confident. Moreover when times are tough, imagination is required.

In 1937 when Japan invaded China a Japanese soldier witnessed what he thought people that at the time had lost their sense of self-worth.  They could not understand the weakness in the Chinese character and in that they lost lives for this. To them such a battle seemed meaningless.  If ever, heaven forbid, Europe was invaded, or endured some widespread civil unrest, by an extreme force of some nature, we could be a walk over. This would be a sad reflection on our own character.

In May 1940 whilst Britain was close to its knees, Winston Churchill, a man who often had enough foresight in warning his people against the tide of mainstream, was in a room alone with the then Prime Minister Chamberlain and Halifax the next expected leader. The PM had asked Halifax to take over the reins from which he had politely declined. There was only one person left in the room. Churchill noted. ‘On this occasion I was silent’ He felt the tap on his shoulder. He must have felt the eyes of the world were on him and that lions roar in him.

Some of us may have the lion’s roar in us, whilst others may wait patiently or silently for that tap on our shoulder. Yes we need strong characters, real men, and real women that are prepared or cope with the unexpected. We need men and women with integrity and the wisdom of lifes experience that inspire greatness in that we are not a soft touch by allowing us to see beyond the palm of our hand. Those with enough forsesight, a sense of calm or self-control that can master or bridge our differences into something greater. That way we can begin to see the world not as it is but as we are.

In short, if the enemy is in you; shake it off. If that wall is in you, knock it down. Have the courage to breathe in and gently blow that hand in front of you outwards. Blow your arms outwards. Blow into the wind, see ahead, beyond the horizons, and on upwards. Allow that old ear in you to disappear and the new one to replace it. The respect in you will allow the respect for others. That compassion in you will allow the compassion for others. That inspiration in you will inspire others. As a Dutch business leader in Finance quite eloquently put it, it is that magnetic compass in all of us that points north that measures our confidence. I could not agree more and yet right now the needle appears to be spinning in every single direction that could prick us accidently until we bleed into a deep sleep or like a dog chaising its tail.

Well let’s blow that compass back North wards with all that you've got!

Inner peace is our path to greatness

1 comment:

  1. Thanks George. Good article. As the memories of WWII vanish (which was visible yesterday during the Liberation Celebrations in NL), we need new arguments as to why we need to care for wellbeing of all above individuals. This is serious, and can't be left to treehuggers and '68-generation alone.