There is an exercise I borrowed from Warren Buffet to guide Clients and myself in their Journey of Self-discovery. Think of a person you admire most. It can be someone famous, historical or fictional doesn’t matter. Now list some of their character qualities you value most and write them down. I chose Bruce Lee, a legend that inspired me from childhood. I have read all his biographies. I noted his fearless self-expression, unwavering work-ethic and resolve, persistent curiosity for everything related to martial arts and self improvement, his philosophical nature and his expansive view of humanity beyond race and culture. I took this exercise one step further and decided to list the qualities of someone I did not respect or disliked. I honestly do not recall if this second part of the exercise was an original thought or something I came across in my research. Regardless I found it insightful.
We all have experienced the authority figure who had no right or business being in a leadership position. This is somewhat tolerable when its an overzealous Mall Security Guard but the more power or authority the individual has over us the more we all cringe. I immediately thought of an ex-supervisor. She was either extremely selfish or lazy, often choosing to book vacation in her office or wander the halls visiting with others who shared her aversion for work. She became so inept from years of apathy that anything requiring a degree of effort or learning was delegated to another. She lacked humility and accountability resulting in an inability to ask for assistance and blaming others when she failed. Simultaneously her pride made her impervious to criticism and growth.
The goal of this exercise is not to give one a better insight into their childhood heroes and clarify the reasons you don’t like your boss. Warren Buffet suggests you work on your personal growth and return to the list a years later to discover that you are now the person you admire most. While I agree with the world’s richest man that we should be working on self improvement daily, invest in yourself as he puts it. The qualities of each person are qualities I saw in myself at different points in my life. They represent two extremes of the self. The person I feared becoming and the person I wanted to be. The Ego and the True-self. In order for me to live a life I could truly be proud of I had strive to live a life of authenticity, not filtering or censoring my messages to gain the acceptance and approval of others. I had to relentlessly pursuing the best version of self in all aspects of my life. I needed to inspire others through my words and actions. I had to start taking responsibility for my current positon in life, my future success or failures. I had to quite old habits, relationships and jobs that were no longer in alignment with my true-self. I had to face the darkness inside me and bring it to the surface. I wish I could tell you that It was easy or that I attained some state of bliss or resolution. I all I can say is that it is definitely fucking worth it! Regardless of where you currently are on your individual Quality Scale. It’s imperative that you remember it is not a fixed position. We can advance and have the opportunities to do so every minute of our lives. It is in this process we discover who we truly are. What we want and what is important in life become the same. Taking care of yourself becomes second nature when you learn to value who you are. You simply stop letting others tell you what’s important to you and why you cant do exactly what you want in this precious finite existence called life.
There is an old Cherokee legend; A Chief is sitting around the fire with the children of the Tribe. He tells them “In each of us there is a struggle between two wolves. One represents the Dark, fear, anger, hatred, sadness, want, envy. The other is the Light, courage, peace, love, happiness and gratitude.” A young boy asks “Which one wins?”. The Chief pauses and sternly gazes at the fire. “The one you feed”