YOU have the POWER! It is INSIDE

State Of Mind
We may not completely control our careers, but we are in full control over
  • Which skills we choose to acquire, refine and master.
  • Which talents we nurture and refine into our Perfexcellence toolbox.
  • Which passions we pursue and what problems we deploy our skills and talents at.
  • What impressions we make on the people we meet.
  • Whether we respond, or react to the curveballs that our careers throw us.
These are the things that largely determine our career success. The rest is mostly luck and as someone once said “Good luck is opportunity meets preparation”. So how are we preparing?
We may not have full control over every aspect of our health, but we do largely have control over
  • Those little habits that make up our personal hygiene.
  • What we eat, how much of it and how often.
  • How physical exercise we put in regularly.
  • How long we let each feeling and emotion (good or bad) live in our hearts.
  • How we choose to perceive the ‘injustices’ in the world.
And these largely determine how healthy we are – physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are no sustainably fulfilling careers in unhealthy bodies. So how are we ensuring that our health won’t sabotage our careers and dreams?
We cannot dictate people’s actions but we can chose and do control
  • How we perceive people and consequently treat them.
  • How we serve, help and appreciate those whose paths we cross.
  • Whether by our deeds and words, we leave people better off than we met them.
  • Whether our actions paint a consistent picture of our character.
  • Whether we leave each encounter better in some way than we got into it.
  • How well and often we make and keep our promises.
And these things touch people’s hearts and minds and is the stuff of influence.  When that influence makes their minds dance to that song we put in their heart, they reward us by letting us lead them.
Ultimately, we all create our futures and destinies, by the very thoughts we choose to dwell on,  the acts we choose to do in the present and what stories we choose to tell ourselves when things don’t go as planned.
The dirty office politics, the dubious colleagues, the bad boss, the unfair compensation schemes are only part of the story but they can also be tests and launchpads to true greatness, if only we can find the power within to overcome them, as often as they rear their head up in different forms.
Yes, there is tremendous power within us but we must be willing to pay the price to wield it.
  • Can we muster the strength to sacrifice the mundane for the significant … or vice versa if the mundane is what enriches another life?
  • Will we have the courage to deny our senses pleasure now that in order to gratify our spiritual yearnings?
  • Will we be able to say no to eating the fruit today and rather plant a tree of whose fruit neither we nor ours may eat but that will feed a small nation tomorrow?
The path to perfexcellence is riddled with such choices and we must find that courage, that willpower, that love and that vision to make the right calls and do it consistently no matter how many times we fail.

My ‘ekigai’ – Why I Wake Up Every Morning!!

“To master a bit of more of myself every day, so I might give it to the service of humanity, as an instrument of peace to the glory of God“ – Mukom Akong

This was one of those things (revelations? realisations) I had in the early morning of 3rd January 2011 when I couldn’t sleep. I got there because I still am always asking myself that question “what specific thing did God create me to do on this earth?“ – an old question I have been asking for some time (still no crystal clear answers yet).

I first heard the word “ekigai” from TEDster Dan Buettner during his brilliant TED talk “How to Live to be 100+” in which he pointed out from research that one of the things common to people who live long is – “ a personal sense of purpose” and for a Japanese community he studied, their name for that personal sense of purpose is called “Ekigai “, which is an Okinawan word meaning “the reason I wake up every morning”. When I heard that, it resonated so deeply with me in the spirit of purpose not as some big grand goal or ideal in your head but one that is all pervasive and helps focus you day by day, moment by moment.

Just think of the following days in your life:

  • Your first day at school.
  • The starting day of a favourite project of yours.
  • Your wedding day (ok, not being married, I can’t relate anything original here, except what I have heard and observed)

Was that day boring? most probably not, and I will submit that the reason these days were fulfilling (not necessarily beds of roses) was that you woke up that day with a reason for waking up that day. Those days for me include days I am to start teaching a new class, the day I am to start learning a new skill. But there is something just plain magical about having that daily sense of purpose that makes you jump out of the bed, with praise in your heart, a dance in step, a twinkle in your eye and anticipation to DO something. And I am one of those who knows and believes in as much as we watch our thoughts carefully to lead better lives, better lives only actually materialise when we DO those beautiful things that we have conceived and those that are revealed to us in the spontaneity of a spiritual moment of enlightenment.

And so in the early hours of that morning, I stumbled on my ekigai

“To master a bit of more of myself every day, so I might give it to the service of humanity, as an instrument of peace to the glory of God“

As I reflect on why this ekigai resonated so deeply with my spirit, I realise that it is because it resonates with something else I have come to realise in my awareness practice – that you can’t give that which you don’t own or master. Our ego is always grabbing our resources – emotional, physical, spiritiual etc to feed itself, the only resources you can give to humanity (in terms of service, compassion, helping etc) are those that you have freed from the grasp of the ego’s needs. Why an instrument of peace? …because “instrument of peace” is a phrase from St Francis’ famous prayer that struck and continues to strike a deep cord in my spirit, (“lord make me an instrument of thy peace“) and as succeed at these acts of mastering a bit more of my self, my preferred form of service is to be an instrument of peace, wherever I find myself. And where I succeed in being an instrument of peace, I will give God the glory for I am always conscious of the fact that such success is it is not due solely to my capability alone (not even from self mastery) …but due to luck and God’s help, for I am sure there are others who will bring more human effort to it and still not succeed.

And you, what is your ekigai?