The following is an excerpt from the new book, Spiritual Leadership, by Professor MS Rao. Professor Rao, known as ‘The Father of Soft Leadership,’ is an award-winning authority on the practical application of enduring leadership principles. He can be followed on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman
People are born and die every day. Nonetheless, we remember only a few exceptional leaders, such as: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela.
What made them stand out from others? What made them live beyond their lifetime? It is because they identified what made them come alive to provide meaning to their lives. They made an immense difference to the world without expecting anything from others.
We will discuss what makes people come alive to provide meaning to your life.
Existing versus Living
There is a thin line separating existing and living in this world. When you lead a scheduled life, you exist in this world like anybody else.
In contrast, when you lead an adventurous life by exploring and experimenting, you live in a world, unlike others. When you exist, you spend your time; when you live, you invest your time. When you exist, you emphasize the status quo; when you live, you emphasize the status quo ante. When you exist, you lead a conventional life; when you live, you lead an unconventional life with highs and lows. When you exist, you live in your comfort zone; when you live, you live in your effective zone. When you exist, you don’t exploit your full potential; when you live, you exploit your full potential. When you exist, you make limited mistakes, learn and remain an ordinary person; when you live you make more mistakes, learn greatly and excel as an extraordinary person and leader.
Tips to Come Alive
To come alive, you must follow your passions. You are gifted with only one life. When you follow your passions, you don’t know how you spend your time because you enjoy doing every moment of your life.
Hence, follow your heart, identify your core talents, and build skills around them.
Here are some tools and techniques to come alive to provide meaning to your life.
—Avoid toxic people and friends. Surround yourself with people who spread positivity, happiness, and joy.
—Avoid badmouthing others. See good in others and appreciate them to elevate their energy levels.
—Let go of your unpleasant. Learn to live in the present instead of brooding over your unpleasant past and worrying about the future which cannot be predicted.
—Forgive the people who let you down. Be compassionate.
—Have an attitude of gratitude. Thank God for what you have. Avoid complaining, criticizing, and condemning.
—Help people. It gives you immense happiness and joy.
—Travel to different places to interact with different people and understand them. Additionally, you enjoy nature and unwind yourself. You may acquire new ideas to explore and experiment with. Paulo Coelho authored the book The Alchemist based on his experiences while traveling.
—Build your network of friends to share your emotions and feelings and to listen to them and respect theirs. It gives you great comfort and solace.
—Avoid complexity. Make things simple and straight.
Mentor to Make a Difference
Serving students and sharing knowledge freely with the world makes me come alive. I enjoy doing it despite not earning any money from it because I am making a difference in the world. Similarly, find out what makes you come alive in this world to provide meaning to your life.
Identify the talents, skills, and potential in people and encourage them to utilize them. Most Nobel Prize winners ascribe their success to their mentors and teachers who identified their strengths and inspired them to dream big. Hence, become a mentor to make others come alive and make a difference.
Life is a Train, not a Station
We often hear that life is a journey and we must enjoy every moment of it rather than worry about the destination. It is a fact that everyone intends to reach their destination, but they sacrifice their present moments by thinking about the future. In a similar context, life is a train, not a station. When you think of only station you are confined to a particular moment of your life, not the life. The collection of stations becomes the process of the train journey complete. You don’t know when you will step down from the train forever.
You are born to your parents and you will be supported by them and your friends. You will meet strangers and known people in each station. Some will step down from the train while some will travel and enter the train. Remember that you are born alone and die alone. Hence, do good to others; make others comfortable and happy; and make a difference in the world to leave your legacy to the next generations. Life is great!
Don’t act as per the script written by others. Write your script in which you are the actor, director, and producer. Life is a precious gift. Enjoy it. You cannot travel back to your history. Hence, enjoy every moment of your life journey. Find out what makes you come alive. Be a giver. Add value to others. Make a difference in the lives of others to live beyond your lifetime.
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. International Leadership Guru | Spiritual Leadership