A basic of my coaching beliefs is that it is best to leverage strengths in order to address weaker areas.
As we start the 4th of July weekend, as part of our celebration, it is imperative that we focus on what we do so well in our country so that we can address what we do so poorly.
While there are some that would state that our country is bereft of goodness, I would strongly disagree. I see superb examples of goodness, service, charity, and altruism. But seeing such examples is a choice.
If that seems trite, or if that seems as though it comes from someone who perhaps has not seen, or experienced the worst, as I admit I have not, then let me pull from recent history, four quotes from Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for trying to eliminate racism in his country. A man who walked away from prison in 1990 to change his country and receive the Nobel Peace Prize three years later. Did he have a choice of what to focus on after nearly three decades of injustice and horrible treatment at the hands of confirmed racists?
Yes!! And look at what that produced:
1. One of the most difficult things is not to change society — but to change yourself.
2. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.
3. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
4. If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important, and you do that by being genuine and humble.
So, if he can choose to take that point of view, then I have no other choice, ethical or moral, than to do the same.
I have been taught by many people, and lived in distinctly different cultures. I would never want to lose what they have taught me. And none of those sources of teaching have been perfect. They, both the individuals and the cultures, have issues that I could have focused on, instead of looking to example of how they influenced me for good.
Please, over this weekend, take a few minutes to focus on what is strong in your part of the country. What are things you can be proud of? And, what are things, that with that pride, you can influence to change?
Certainly, there are those circumstances in which there is no good to be found, but those are rare.