I am, because we are. “Ubuntu” is the African word for describing the essence of co-existence and the importance of my own position in society. Although my own place in humanity is largely defined by the group I find myself in, my value is determined by myself.
The position I occupy does not establish my worth. The influence I have on my environment does. That is the reason why statues are only built for people who influenced society. Usually having to go against the flow of the usual. Not allowing the way of least resistance to direct their actions.
Standing alone amongst my peers and facing the challenge of the strong current of opposing the institutionalized wrongs that will define me. That is why no statues are built for people who had an easy life.
Whistleblowing is not seen as a virtue among those who have vested interests in mediocrity and the iniquitous.
My attitude towards my own purpose should then rather be: “We are because I am”.
Call it Utopia, Paradise or any other name. It remains the ultimate dream of society. An imaginary place of perfection in all social systems. The irony lies in the word “Utopia” itself. Literally it means “nowhere”. In the mind of most people the concept of a perfect world lies outside and beyond what we know in this life, so it can only be possible in a place and time on the “other side”.
If that is your belief, you have accepted the brokenness of this world as your destiny. Then you gave up on good, well and contentment.Utopia is not a destination, it’s a direction. Even if my influence is limited and does not allow me to change the world, I can at least direct my own life. Living in the direction of perfection allows me to alter my own little world.
Amidst a chaotic and uncomfortable space, my drive is to build a bubble of happiness where I make the rules I live by. I will not allow the negative environment to dictate my quality of life. I will not allow my lack of resources to set the level of joy. I will find my Utopia in my relationship with the important people in my life. So, Utopia is not “nowhere”, it is “everywhere”. A borderless paradise.
The ultimate supplement one needs to grow into being a complete human, is not compressed into a tablet, ground into a powder or dissolved into wonder-drops.
The final ingredient to complete a good, wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle is a live spirituality. This is where the true energy lies. The one area of our existence where true vitality and drive is generated.
Spirituality is concentrated in the meaning of your life. Discovering the values that you live by. The understanding of the essence of your being. Some of us find it in religious beliefs and others in an inward discovering of who and what your life is all about.
We spend so much time –and money- in pursuing a healthy diet and lifestyle in the hope that it will improve the quality of our life. The one part of our existence we often neglect is the spiritual. An equal amount of time – if not more – should be invested in caring for the spirit. This will set us on the way to a fulfilling, complete life.
The way to the top is often interrupted with a downward turn. In striving to achieve excellence, the route to follow does not allow for an uninterrupted upward gradient. Where excellence does not mean to be the best, but to constantly improve. Not in relation to “others”, but compared to one self. Improving on your own abilities, capabilities and self-worth that are where achieving excellence becomes a constant fight against yourself.
In order to give the next step to reach the next level, there is the need for an ongoing reflection of what lies below the surface. The shadow of what your personality shines towards the world around you. The hidden motives that push you, the concealed anger you mask as “drive”. The envy you present as empathy or the arrogance you screen behind confidence.
The only way to discover and understand the shadow-side is to dive down into who I really am. To constantly ask the question, “why do I feel this way?” or “What is it I actually want?” “Why am I upset?” This kind of diving, gives you the insight into yourself to venture forward and upward.
In Africa there is a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together”. In venturing through this life one quickly learns that going alone is very dangerous, very risky and extremely lonely. Somewhere in the late teens of one’s life the main objective is to go alone. Be independent, do your own thing. It is only in the first major predicament that the realization dawns on you that you actually need others not only to survive but also, and especially, to get ahead – to grow.
Soon you also get to understand that although you may need the others around you, you cannot “like” everyone. Some of those you come across just cannot fit into your template of like-ness. Usually we then try to avoid those or at least evade them to save yourself from having to deal with them. Yet, the sooner one learns to grasp the fact that not to like someone is not to be confused with not to respect or even endure those.
We often hear the phrase that we should “love” one another. That does not mean to “like” everybody is even possible. It means to respect the others and acknowledge the contribution they can make in assisting me to develop my own strengths.
Alone, personal growth is just not possible. Only when you recognize the value of those around you- the ones you like as well as those you don’t- growth towards maturity can commence. Together is more.
The day I die, I will be remembered for who I was and not for what I did. Legacy lies not in greatness of deeds, but in pureness of character. In every step we walk in life, something lingers behind like an aroma it follows us. It is not the deed of kindness or the word of truth that will define me, but the strength and endurance of my character. The “who I really am when nobody is watching”.
My obituary will be made up of character qualities I displayed on an unfailing way throughout my life. Especially during times of pressure.
The true test is not in the guise I wear every day to impress those around me, it is in the persistence of growth in my character.
I can never outgrow the potential of improvement in the essence of who I am. This is the quintessence of our being, what separates us from the rest of the universe.
Developing awareness about your daily achievements is one of the best ways towards an exciting life. Those little victories at work or home, if celebrated, tend to cultivate a feeling of worth. A job completed to your standards, the mastering of a new skill or the small victory over a bad habit or the completion of an assignment; those types of triumphs deserve celebration.
Recognition is after all the best motivator. If appreciation is shown towards something you did, it is worth taking credit for your effort. There is nothing wrong to be proud about who I am and what I achieve. The attitude with which I accept praise or recognition would determine if I am perceived as being arrogant or grateful.
You owe yourself enough acknowledgment for your efforts. Be lenient about your mistakes but very mindful of your accomplishments. Sharing your celebration in a grateful manner with your significant others project a positive image and inspire a positive lifestyle in those around you.