Saturday, August 18, 2012

Building your character from every setback..

I am convinced my life belongs to the whole community; and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn brightly as possible before turning it over to future generations.” -George Bernard Shaw.
I began high school as a shy, pudgy girl, the girl hiding behind stringy brown locks of hair and who wore the same nondescript grey tennis shoes every day. At this point in my life, this quote would have meant little if anything to me. I had no concept of service or passion and had no great theory on honor. Watching from the sidewalk as my newly licensed peers zoomed by in their new cars, I felt nothing but pity for myself and contempt for the world around me for not giving me what I thought I was entitled to.

Despite my selfishness through my early teenage years, somehow I never lost a sense of compassion I was blessed to have picked from my now weathered, silver-haired father. Through luck or the grace of God, amazing people were somehow drawn to me. I was blessed to meet several people who showed me what it was to be, quite simply, a human being.
Shaw states that the goal in life is to be capable of hard work, to live boldly, and to gain a passion for life, that will live on long after your last breath on this earth. With these words he conveys the three characteristics of what I believe to be the timeless, unadulterated qualities that define each and every one of us: willingness to serve, passion, and, probably most important, integrity.
When I was younger, maybe five or six, I waited inside the front window of my family's house for my grandma and we never missed the weekly story hour at the dilapidated and smelly old public library. I still remember how the storyteller could take me absolutely anywhere just with her words and my imagination, I remember how this hour was the best hour of my entire week, but I remember amazingly few specific stories. One story I do remember well enough to retell now is a Native American story describing their beliefs about how the birds came to be respected in the hierarchy that they are.
Everyone knows that the eagle is the most majestic bird, but few people know of the tale describing how he claimed this position. Many years ago, before there were humans upon this earth, the animals roamed free. The birds, being the only animals able to fly, roamed freely over the skies. One day, the birds decided they needed a leader; after much argument, they decided they would choose a leader according to who could fly the highest. All at once the birds leapt into the sky. Slowing first was the chickadee; his wings were far too small to carry him very high. Next the robin fell back, leaving only the blue jay, eagle, hawk, owl, and vulture still rising. Slowly they all dropped down until only the eagle and the owl were left. Both were growing extremely tired as they soared higher to the cheers of the other birds. One moment before they were both about to give up, the birds left on the ground saw a tiny speck rise from the back of the eagle just as he began to lose altitude.
The birds cheered madly as they realized the speck was the sparrow, rising high above, thanks to the lift from the eagle. Immediately, the birds chose the eagle as their leader because he had borne the weight of another bird when he, alone, could have easily overtaken the owl. Despite the physical burden of helping another achieve his best, he chose selflessly to help the sparrow and sacrifice his chance of winning the competition. To this day, the eagle remains a sign of inspiration and motivation.
George Bernard Shaw says it is a privilege to help others when you belong to a community. I believe one of the greatest laws of life is to understand our responsibility to a community much greater than ourselves and to learn to sacrifice ourselves for others.
It's fairly easy to serve others with our hands but there are totally different aspects of service that many people overlook. Service is not just helping an elderly woman with her groceries or volunteering in a children's ward at a hospital; service is something you do with every part of your being. We must also have the ability to listen. I feel that listening is the single best service we can provide to anyone. We must develop an ear that can listen not only to words but can truly hear the strength, compassion, and humility to take action.
In eighteen years of wandering, I've met people who were honest, altruistic, and hard working, but for some reason had not impacted the world the way they could have. It was in thinking of that that I added passion to my list of laws of life.
People with character have a respect for rules, but they are also fascinated with creative answers to life's little problems.
People with character do not scale for “right” answers; they create pathways to their own solutions. People with character question, challenge, and change the world.
People with strong morals but who still remember humanity are willing to do whatever it takes to leave the world even slightly better than when they found it.
Shaw compares life to a flame, not just any flame, but a bright, blazing torch. This comparison is one that I love.
Several months ago I had a life changing experience at National Leadership Camp in Colorado. As I sat in an open air chapel, I heard some of the most ordinary-seeming people say the most amazing things I have ever heard in my life. As Sharon, our director, slowly mounted the steps to the podium I could not take my eyes off the amazing view of the Mummy Range and the moon slowly rising above it. When Sharon arrived at the podium she turned to look at the view as well before pointing up to the first star that had appeared in the sky and said, “Each of you have a flame inside you. It is much like this star.” There was a pregnant pause for emphasis before Sharon continued: “As the night grows darker, this star will grow brighter...until morning, when the sky will lighten and we will no longer need the stars to navigate by.
The flame inside of you is very similar; you shall serve as a beacon of light to those around you. When the world appears to have grown dark, you will show others the fire. Your fire will grow brighter and brighter until the day you are no longer needed or are needed more someplace else.”
Shaw knows that the darkness of the entire world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle, nor can a world of skepticism darken the heart of a believer.
A few years ago, I was able to take a state and local government class from a veteran Kansas State Legislator named Rex. Rex spent twenty-five years in the Kansas State Legislature and was there when the death penalty was under heavy debate. One night at class, Rex asked his class of three students at the local community college what was the “honest” thing to do:
vote what his conscience was screaming at him, or
vote what his constituents favored.
Morally and religiously, Rex knew what to do, but he also knew his job was to accurately reflect the views of those he represented. It was then that I realized just how difficult the position of being an honest leader was.
We often think that an honest day's work is an easy thing to do, but the fact is that for many people it is not. Finally, each of us must have a self-defined sense of what integrity is. Whatever religion we follow, whatever belief system we were raised with, at the end of the day we must be at peace with our actions and ourselves, and I believe that in most cases, integrity develops only through hard work and trial and error. Through my experience in student leadership and coordinating student projects, the projects I learned the most from were the projects I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into and then "failed". I learned to admit my mistakes, pick myself back up, and move on.
I once met a man, Jamie Clark, who had a passion for climbing and had recently climbed Mount Everest — only the eighth Canadian to ever do so. The interesting thing about Jamie was that he had failed twice before finally reaching the summit on the third attempt. Each attempt his team made took two to three years of training and fundraising before they could try again.
Jamie developed his character and integrity because he refused to give up despite normally crippling injuries and amazing odds against him. Each time his team tried the ascent they learned more, and though failing twice was heartbreaking they improved more each time, and their third attempt was one of the fastest climbs of Mount Everest ever.
These qualities, willingness to serve, passion, and integrity, are what define us. Unfortunately, these qualities in a person are very hard to develop without actual real life experience; they are characteristics that develop, most of the time, in our darkest hours.
I've come a long way from the hidden, quiet girl who yearned for a pair of branded shoes and a new car. Today, I am the outgoing woman who believes every word worth speaking should be said with enthusiasm and who plans on joining the Peace Corps before getting any traditional job after college. Looking back, I realize even the examples I have presented were not the life changing moments that developed my character; rather, they were moments I looked upon for guidance and inspiration when I hit rock bottom.
Character is something we find inside ourselves in our most desperate times and something that defines every action we make.
- Source Govind Bhagwat from unknown.


Nilesh Patil said...

Good Morning Master & Friends

Arun kumar sharma said...

Good Morning llango sir & all my friends.

durga said...

master,good morning.
true to every these tough times of daily scams to build ones own character is the toughest thing to accomplish. we can do it if we see the bigger picture of BEING. good day.

amber said...


sanz said...

morning family :) very inspiring Post Sir thanks...

sanz said...

@ MAster & Piyush Sarda Ji : sitll unable to download the TA file. every time i click the link it says to signup or sign in :( plz help

IamthtIam said...

Good Morning Master

Hari_Hyderabad said...

Good afternoon master & JN famiy,

Thank you master.

Have a nice weekend !

Hari_Hyderabad said...

@ Sanz sir,

I have mailed you the file as Gmail attachment.

You can sign up 4shared for free account to download.

SANPOT said...

The Majestic Eagle was crowned the King of the Birds.....As a King he had all the the qualities: compassion for the little sparrow( common person),sacrifice, willingness to serve the sparrow at the cost of his defeat, and the most important--his self confidence that he can lift the burden of the sparrow.
Thank you Ilango Sir for one more inspiring post.
Wish you a happy weekend.

Piyush Sharda said...


as hari told u can sign up and then download. u can remember the user name /password and use it everyday for sign in.

Sathya said...

While Reading the Post it was none other then our Majestic Ilango Sir who came in mind.

suresh said...

sir ji,
in EW , how to identify in intraday(5 or 30 mts-TF), whether the chart has formed 1345 impulsive or ABC corrective pattern.

suresh said...

i have not forgotten the THREE basic rules.
applicable in EW

vksoni said...

Try google chrome for download the xl file.Remember you have to login into account.sign up free ane enter id and password.i have the same problem earlier but now no problem with chrome.

Ramesh said...

I have posted an article on Nifty Future would like your review comments

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