“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
While Jim Rohn’s quote was more directed towards leadership, the saying is profound in its depth and is applicable to anyone. When we exhibit these traits, people will likely see us as leaders, but that shouldn’t be the primary goal. As we read through each part of the quote, it becomes clear that these are simple yet powerful ways to live.
Of course, not everyone is given such a lesson in life. We witness many people that continuously reveal the character flaws described in the quote: rudeness, weakness, bullying, laziness, timidity, arrogance and folly. Many of these people will continue to live in such a manner, not making any conscious effort to attain new, more respectable traits.
Our future is determined by how we presently live. Cliché as it may sound, life is a marathon, and people who “win” in life make a habit out of living each day moment-by-moment while exuding a certain strength of character.
Complicated as life may be, embodying strong individual traits is not as difficult. When we make a conscious effort, our respective futures will naturally bear fruit. We’re strong, capable, and influential human beings, but we must first realize, and most importantly believe such. Our future demands that we have such awareness and belief.
Here are 7 things you need to know about your future:
1. Love conquers everything
Love is the strongest, most meaningful, deepest emotion that we can feel. The ability to love people in the face of even the more dire conditions is what makes human beings truly unique creatures.
Gandhi once said “Where there is life, there is love,” a simple, profound quote from someone that lived his life with love and compassion to the very end. The most admired people in history often embraced love in ways that allowed them to persevere in the face of hardship, loss, and hopelessness.
We are no different. The only constant in life is change, and the ability to love through the ebbs and flows of life is both a gift and a necessity.
2. Dreams are worth the risk
Helen Keller once said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” When we cut right through the irrelevance of life’s shallow concerns, what ultimately matters is our purpose… our dreams.
Much of society has a “security mindset,” in that people want to live comfortably and with minimal turbulence. Many of us want to wake up, go to work, come home, and attempt to carve out some time for fun along the way.
The problem with such an outlook is that it often comes from a place of fear – a strong enough emotion to render many people incapable of taking risks. Something that is important for all of us to understand is that fear is normal – everyone is afraid. However, most people don’t understand we can use fear, instead of fear using us.
Accomplishing our dreams requires risk. Risk invokes fear. Use that fear.
3. Honor and respect are paramount
If we all embraced honor and respect as necessary behaviors, our world would be far a less contentious place. Unfortunately, society has embraced a cut-throat, “no holds barred,” “24/7” mentality that often pits human beings against one another. This is not an indictment on competition, which by itself is valuable. However, when we forgo common courtesy to best each other it is a stain on the fabric of society.
The concepts of honor and respect are taught. The acquisition of honor and respect are earned. We earn them by embracing a character of high esteem.
4. The present moment is all we have
Time is our most valuable asset. Consider this: the average lifespan of a person in America is around 79 years (76 for men, 81 for women). Anyone that has reached middle age can attest to the “Time flies” adage. The longer we live, the faster time goes.
It’s odd to realize that many (most?) people don’t embrace the present moment, instead always working, leaving, searching, and reaching – often for nothing in particular. Thankfully, schools of thought pertaining to mindfulness, awareness and meditation are beginning to permeate a society that desperately needs to rediscover the importance of the present.
5. We’ll never “have the time”
Sort of piggybacking off the prior lesson, so many of us use the excuse “I don’t have the time,” in some form or another.
Now, granted, there are instances where one truly doesn’t have the time. However, this saying has been mindlessly uttered by countless individuals as an excuse. Where this mindset does its most damage are to things that are important to us – relationships, goals, dreams and health just to name a few.
For such important things, wouldn’t it behoove us to make the time, instead of it making us? After all, we’ll never really “have the time” unless we do so.
6. Circumstances don’t define us
One of the definitions of responsibility is the ability to choose your response. We can’t pretend to know the difficulty of some people’s circumstance – these are often circumstances that are often not of their own doing. Yet, some of the most influential people have overcome even the direst of conditions.
The innate tendency to blame circumstances for troubles in our life is universal, and it is uniquely human. However, once we take (take!) control of our response to any circumstance, regardless of the negative emotions it evokes, we realize true empowerment.
The ability to focus on response rather than circumstance is extremely valuable to one’s future.
7. Self-control is our ally
Emotions are powerful enough to detract even the most resolute among us. Differentiating the resolute from the wavering is the ability to collect themselves and control their thinking…and, in doing so, controlling their emotions.
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Few traits are as powerful as the ability to control our minds through focus, attention and awareness. While the development of such ability is often painstaking and littered with setbacks, the possibilities become endless when attained. This is truly one of the best lessons to learn while navigating towards one’s destiny.