What if I told you the world is not what you see? Where you see fear, darkness, and hopelessness, I see love, light, and unlimited hope. Where you see no way, I see several. When you feel lonely like no one believes in you, I believe and I am with you.
I do. I am.
We watched the new Lion King this weekend and my husband was shocked to learn that I knew all the words to all the songs. I’ve been obsessed with his movie since it came out. Much of what this movie stands for is the the way I see what the world could be. It represents the work I want to do to restore it.
Take one of my favorite quotes from the movie: Everything you see – exists together in a delicate balance. While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.
That definition of a leader seems pretty different than the definition we are living in some days…but I see you true leaders…fighting the good fight!
What we usually see are the Scars and hyenas. People on a selfish hunt to get as much as they can no matter what the cost. They have little regard for helping others or caring about the damage they cause in getting what they want.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Timons and Pumbas living a life void of responsibility, blaming others, or just staying quiet to avoid being bothered.
We need more Simbas and Nalas: People who live and fight for what they believe in, and do it with restraint and compassion.
The Scars, hyenas, Timons, and Pumbas drive a system and fuel social structures that leave us oppressed and depressed. Little regard for others nor recognition their individual actions affect everyone and everything. They do…that’s life. When we write off a sector of society be it criminals, homeless, the poor or hungry, we ultimately cause harm to ourselves.
Consider this quote from Pericles in 431 BC who was living in Athens and the following commentary from The Daily Stoic:
“I am convinced that people are much better off when their whole city is flourishing than when certain citizens prosper but the community has gone off course. When a man is doing well for himself but his country is falling to pieces he goes to pieces along with it, but a struggling individual has much better hopes if his country is thriving.”
What good is our success if it comes at the expense of others? What good are we if we can’t help others? We are all bound up in this thing called life together. If we forget that, we’re not only not as advanced or evolved as we think we are, but we are turning our backs on an ancient truth as well.
As we get busier and more distracted, our individualistic views become even more prominent and intense. The individualistic mindset thrives on fear, control, and power. It drives oppression and depression. We see it in our schools, workplaces, communities, and our political structure.
It’s time to re-evaluate what matters most. Is it money and power, is it dignity and love?
It starts with you. What does success mean to you, and what does it look like? Stop looking out. Stop listening to other people. Start looking in, and if you believe, start looking up to God. Only you know what you care about and value. Don’t let someone else lead your life and end up regretting how you spent yours. Challenge your beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions.
Once you have your vision for success, evaluate how you are spending your resources (time, money, and energy). Does it align with your vision and what you value?
We say that our family is most important, yet we spend little time with them. We say charity and helping others is important, yet we aren’t giving our time or treasure. Leaders say their people are important, yet they don’t spend time working with them or invest money developing them. Organizations and communities say a sustainable future is important, yet they aren’t taking time to prepare, plan, and invest for future success.
When we have developed the practices of preparation, discipline, and self-control to successfully manage and love ourselves, we are able to help and serve others. What would it look like if we all loved and successfully managed ourselves, and in turn were helping and serving others? We have a better shot at building a happier, healthier, and more successful world taking that approach than the blaming and fighting we typically rely on.
It starts with you. You choose the world you see and the one you live in. What does success mean to you? What do you value? How is that reflected in the way you are living and spending your resources? Making the world better starts with you.