I remember when I was growing up often hearing the saying “do one thing but do it well!” I had a tendency to daydream and wander in so many directions, touching many fields of interest and feeling frustrated at the mere idea of having to choose. In school one day, my Russian teacher prevailed upon me as I was struggling to keep up with the seven foreign languages I had selected to study: choose one and focus on it!
The majority of people specialize in a single discipline and get to hone it throughout their lives, identifying first and foremost with their job, their family, or their country of origin, depending on whatever prevails when standing at the helm of their own existence. As a result, we often question our ability to make decisions in other areas regarding our health, the education of our children, or the fate of the planet. We quickly abdicate the authority and discharge the responsibility for our own lives, unable to cope with the rapid changes in our set of circumstances, from having to heal ourselves, to educate ourselves, or to partake in communities and hone the fate of the planet.
It takes a village to raise a child for a balanced life, listening to all sides, integrating all voices. You may have noticed that you tend to look at things from one particular angle, but that there are many perspectives. You may feel more inclined towards an emotional rather than a financial argument, or you may prefer to think in terms of details rather than the big picture. Make sure not to be blindsided, however, as there are many other ways of looking at our situation. We may be happier choosing one focus, but we owe it to ourselves to explore other sides.
We become (well-rounded) human beings when we open up to others’ viewpoints and become more confident in our own choices as a result, and when we become fully at ease with our changing views over time. Ultimately, it helps communicate with people from other countries about who we are, in full respect of our own and others’ biases. We are multifaceted international beings at heart.
Early on as human beings, we have to choose whether life is a struggle or whether it is essentially loving. Our choice will determine the belief system that guides us through life. We all face at some point dark moments wanting to hide from the world and crawl under a rock. We all experience being hurt, angry, in fear, or simply weary of the world. Some of us go in hiding, become invisible to eventually realize that we are essentially hiding from ourselves, fighting our own demons. Others choose the light, stepping out of misery to serve the world.
We may also decide to serve the world – and ourselves for that matter – from a place of support or in opposition, depending on our perspective in life. We can promote peaceful relations or speak out in opposition to conflicts. At first glance, this may seem to aim for the same thing but the two paths could not be further apart, leading to a very different quality of life. One is inspiring change through optimism and affirmation; the other is offering a path of challenges scaring people into action. The latter may seem easier as you only have to stand up and speak out in opposition, whereas inspiring others requires developing new ideas and mustering the courage to table them for others to consider. However, the universe will respond to new ideas by expanding the realm of the possible and lightening up the path. It will get into a contracting mode when faced with opposition, and block any potential change. The forces unleashed are dramatically opposed.
When we hide and make believe that we are invisible, we let our fears get the best of us, but more importantly we diminish the potential invested in ourselves and deprive others of the unique gifts and talents we are meant to share with the world. Our stories are not ours. They are meant to be shared. We are all meant to radiate our own brilliance and lighten up the world. When we shine our light we help others get beyond their fears and shine as well. It is our personal responsibility to share our light with our community, lead the way, and let the world catch fire.