There are three qualities I’ve recognized in those who’ve made life better for themselves and others. They are the heroes (and she-roes) who inspire, overcome and rise above hardship, challenge, loss or monotony.
The first is goal-setting. Inspiring people wake up with a goal – big or small, challenging or habitual, infrequent or ongoing. The goal does not have to be monumental. It may cause excitement, personal challenge and sleeplessness or it may simply be something that gives them a reason to crawl out of bed in the morning. Goal oriented individuals look forward to each day with purpose and productiveness. They persevere without hesitation. They plan without procrastination. And they prepare without reservation. Short term, day to day, week to week goals and long term monthly calendar planning lends direction, motivation and hope for those with intentional goals. (And although leisure, recreation or rest may be a day’s goal, laziness is not).
The second is gifts – as in talent, ability and passion. Everyone has something to offer others. Everyone has been blessed with at least one gift, talent or ability. Those who make a difference in life are givers. Abundant resources and champion talents are not necessary. Givers with plenty are often generous, humble and quiet about their giving. Their secret outpouring brings delight, relief and hope to others. Givers with little find a way to share, inspire and encourage with simple gestures, often costing nothing but a little time and thoughtfulness. Knowing your abilities and talents can help you determine how/what you can give to others. What are you good at? What makes you excited? Passionate? Unique? When you share with others the fruit of your specialties both the giver and the receiver enjoy the blessing. Use your unique gifts to meet needs, bring joy, provide relief, encouragement or understanding to those around you. For the giver, giving is a way of life, a first thought, planned or spontaneous. The unspoken questions they continually ask themselves is, “What can I do?” “Who can I help?” “How will my response improve this situation?” The giver eagerly and often searches for opportunities to bless others.
The third quality I’ve noticed, held by productive, happy people lies in their ability to confront, manage and cope with grief. From small disappointments to major loss, suffering and grief are familiar to everyone. Though love and music ‘they say’ are universal languages, able to cross all cultures, suffering and grief rank right alongside. No one has escaped the troubles and heartache of life. Certainly some endure greater loss than others, but the emotion has struck us all. How you handle disappointment, loss and suffering have much to contribute (or detract) from your happiness, your outlook and your worldly view, all of which determine your level of productive, purposeful and positive living. Regret, resentment and self-pity are the greatest enemies that take (and keep) captive those who are unwilling to set themselves free from grief. Emotionally healthy, happy and productive people find the key, use the tool and summon the power in order to relinquish the pity and pride associated with grief. Though to a degree, the pain, the memory, and the loss remain a permanent part of their life, it does not (negatively) dictate their present behavior. Though it defines their past it does not determine the outcome of their future. And although it brings tearful recall, they will somehow muster enough strength to use their loss in order to help others manage their own grief as well.
Setting goals, using gifts and overcoming grief are just three qualities I’ve recognized in others who’ve earned my respect. These individuals have learned to live each day with intention and purpose. They understand and accept who they are and happily share the gifts they possess to uplift others. If offered a choice, they’d rather give than receive. They’ve decided against granting selfish pride one more day of this short life we’ve been given and have chosen to make a difference in the lives of those within their sphere of influence.
Goals, gifts and grief. Few enjoy the freedom of mastering all three. Some (like myself) strive, search and struggle. Others remain captive with hard, unteachable hearts. Today, set a goal; share your gifts; grieve your losses with forward motion and enjoy the life you’ve been blessed to live.