The most common human challenge

03Dec 2017
Guardian On Sunday
The most common human challenge

THE world is changing dramatically. Life is now more complex, more stressful and more demanding. We have transitioned into this era of information, or we can call it the era of knowledge-worked age with all its profound consequences.

We face challenges and problems in our personal lives, our family lives, our organizations, etc, more than it used to be a few decades ago. And all these challenges and problems are not only of a new order of magnitude, they are altogether different in kind.

These sweeping changes in our societies and rumbling shifts into the digitized world give rise to a very important question that I ask myself as far as the progress of the world and individual success is concerned  - will the change in people’s habits and attitude towards life matter.

If ones want to change their lives, regardless of the challenges we are facing, and the answer is the greater the change and the more difficult our challenges the more relevant the attitude of people needs to change towards life.

And the reason is simple: Our problems, or the challenges we are facing, are universal and increasing and the solution to the problems is and always will be based upon universal, timeless, self-evident principles common to every enduring prospering society or individual throughout history.

One of the most profound learnings of my life is this, if you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges is simply by identifying and applying the principles or natural laws that govern the results you seek. Period.  

But how we apply those principles will vary greatly and will be determined by our unique strengths, talents and creativity, but ultimately success in any endeavor is always derived from acting in harmony with the principles to which success is tied.

What I have also realized is that many people do think this way, at least consciously. In fact, you will increasingly find that principled solutions stand in stark contrast to the common practices and thinking of our popular culture.

Now, allow me to illustrate this contrast with a few of the most common human challenges we face.

Number one is fear and insecurity. So many people today are gripped with a sense of fear. I call it the fear of the unknown. They fear to take a risk and go for what they really want and desire out of life.

They fear for the future, they feel vulnerable in the workplace, afraid of losing their jobs and the ability to provide for their families. This vulnerability often fosters a resignation to riskless living and to co-dependency with others at work and at home.

Our cultures common response to this problem is to become more and more independent.  And most of the time you will hear them say am going to focus on me and mine; I’ll do my job and do it well and get my real joys off the job.

My one advice is: It is next to impossible to get real joy off your job and real joy most of the time is held into what you were created to be and do.

The only way to get to it is by stepping out of your comfort zone and go out there and be and do what you were created to do. I like the saying that goes - the cave you are scared to enter holds the treasures you are seeking.

So, for once, take a risk and step out of that comfort zone and go be your best. The problem is, we live in an independent reality and our most important accomplishments require interdependency skills well beyond our present abilities.

The second challenge that we face is lack of patience. The ‘I want it now’ habit seems to haunt us all the time and has gotten the best of us. People want things and they want them now.

I want money; I want a nice big house by the beach now, an exotic car, the biggest and best entertainment centre. I want it all and I deserve it. I tell you, yes you can have all that, and yes you deserve it, but it takes time and work to get all that. All you need is patience and focus on working hard and smart.

With that I mean you need to educate yourself all the time in order to cope with the digitized world and you will eventually have it all.

In the era we are in I believe even working hard alone is not enough with the dizzying rate of fast changes in technology and competition driven by the globalization of markets and technology. We must not only be educated, we must constantly re-educate and reinvent ourselves.

We must develop our minds and continually sharpen and reinvest in the development of our competencies to avoid becoming, At work the bosses drives results and for good reasons, competition is fierce out there survival is at stake.

The need to produce today is today’s reality and represents and demands capital but the reality of success is sustainability and growth which we should do every single day.

And I think it reaches a point you have to ask yourself that from what I want and what am doing now is there a ratio to that? Its okay to wish for things but it is necessary to make sure that you do something that is equivalent to what you want to acquire.

Not only that, but also do something that will enable you to invest that will sustain and increase that success one, five, ten and even twenty years from now. So educate yourself be competent work hard and smart and be patient by so doing its going to happen to you before you know it.

Another challenge that we are facing is blame and victimism. This is a typical problem into our societies, wherever you find a problem you will usually find the finger pointing of blame.

Our societies are addicted to playing victim - if only my boss wasn’t such a controlling freak. The most common one - if only I hadn’t been born in a poor family; if only my parents had done this or that to me; if only they would have sent me to that school. Hello youth, if only I was born in America or Europe!!! If only I was white!

Snap out of it, people. What you are and where you are is your reality and there is a hundred chances for you to change it, don’t just sit back and blame everybody and every situation  what you see is what you got toughen up and get out there and change whatever that it is that you don’t like.

There is a quote by the richest man in the world, Bill Gates. He said if you are born poor it’s not your problem, but if you die poor it is 100 per cent your problem. Blame is a disease, and the only person that has the cure is the person that you see when you look at the mirror.

Blaming everyone and everything else for our problems and challenges may be the norm and may provide temporary relief from the pain but it also chains us to these very problems.  

Show me someone who is humble enough to accept and take responsibility for his or her circumstances and courageous enough to take whatever initiative is necessary to creatively work his or her way through or around these challenges and I will show you the supreme power of choice.

From this what I can tell you is that you have a choice, whether to keep on blaming your parents, the government, your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your teacher or whoever you might choose to place your blames on or you can put an end to all the blames and do something about your challenges.

It’s totally your choice and the outcome of your life depends on it and whichever way you choose to follow you will reap what you have planted.

The other challenge that goes hand in hand with the one above is hopelessness; the children of blame are cynicism or doubt and hopelessness. When we succumb or surrender to believing that we are victims of our circumstances and yield to the plight or dilemma of determinism we lose hope, we lose drive and we settle into resignation and stagnation.

So, many bright and talented people feel this and suffer the broad range of discouragement and depression that follows. The only and I think the most contrasting principle of growth and hope throughout history is the discovery that you are the creative force of your own life.

To be continued…….