Today’s topic has both a professional and personal focus. I’m feeling particularly reflective and wanted to share my thoughts with you on a topic that is important to me.
I have previously blogged about GRATITUDE … back in Oct 2017 (Gratitude- Happy Thanksgiving). Now, almost 5 years later I still think about it — actually, pretty much every day I try to find gratitude in things around me.
I want gratitude to frame a large part of my thoughts — as I believe this mindset builds my sense of hope, increases my resiliency and builds my optimism for tomorrow.
As I get older, I believe that I am seeing the world from a better vantage point. I find that having gratitude aligns pretty well with my degree of happiness. I look for opportunities to be grateful — certainly for what I have, but also for the new lessons that life provides, and for the people (and pets) who make my life better. There will always be stuff we need or want — it’s fun to have new shoes or a new pair of jeans. But, we know that material happiness is fleeting and certainly not related to gratitude.
When I think of the word COURAGE I sometimes think about the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz — although, truthfully, I never thought that was an appropriate name. He was certainly fearful and skittish, but he wasn’t a coward. He showed what it took to be brave when he travelled to Oz in search of the courage he believed he was lacking.
Spoiler Alert: The Lion always had it.
I have previously blogged about courage (The Necessity of Courage, Sept 2020), but I wanted to share some additional thoughts on the concept. As a reminder, here are a couple of points that I emphasized in my previous post:
Having Fear isn’t the Same as Lacking Courage
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
It Takes Courage to Lead Change
You build your ‘courage muscle’ daily, by being courageous in little things. Just do right.
We all categorize things — it’s how we sort our world and make sense of it. Good things over here — bad things over there. Similar things in this box — other things in another box. Even Sesame Street encourages us to sort our world.
We also categorize people. Yes, we do. All of us. Sometimes we assign them a description without knowing enough. And, if you think you don’t do that — you’re wrong.
We read a news article about a person and consciously assign intent or bias
We see someone speeding down the road and label them as dangerous and thoughtless
We dislike someone’s decision so, therefore, that person ‘just doesn’t get it’
We all do it. But, why?
It’s easier to assign intent to others which then justifies our own bias — the other person is either in-line with our own thinking and an ally, or their intent is misguided and they are an adversary.
By assigning intent without inquiring about it, we limit the amount of time we need to put into understanding someone.
Pick a topic, especially one that has a pretty clear line of delineation — global warming, poverty, systemic racism are three that come to mind. All three have some pretty polarizing viewpoints. It’s easier to align oneself with those who are similar to yourself and also assign blame or ignorance to those who are not.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look at social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I wrote a Nov 2020 blog post about how social media platforms have algorithms that use Artificial Intelligence to find persons who are aligned with your way of thinking. Your clicks, swipes and pauses all help shape the opinions you see on these platforms. Social media builds your belief that many others think just like you — it’s a main reason why the platforms are so popular.