difference

I went to watch Blue Man Group this week and thought that it was absolutely bloody brilliant. An explosion of the senses. It was a smart, funny, and wildly entertaining show combining various genres of music and art.

A friend of mine went last night and walked out after only 20 minutes…

Paraphrased, ‘It was noise and banging and not funny at all.’

There was a conversation I had this week with another friend. ‘Does prayer work if the person you are praying for doesn’t believe what you do?’

My friends and I share many common interests and compatible perceptions. We can engage on different levels. Yet, we vastly disagree on certain things.

Has this created a wedge in our friendship? Has difference created an elephant? Something that we cannot ever talk about?

On the contrary. I’d rather engage with somebody who has differing views than those who all think the same way and like the same things. Yes, of course the commonality is fabulous and fun, and sharing is caring after all.

But my thinking will never be challenged if I remain within the confines of my tribe. I cannot broaden my view on various interests and topics. I will struggle to grow and evolve into the person I wish to become. The Richard in five years from now.

I am the first to admit that I can be sensitive at times when some of my ideologies are tested and challenged, defensive even. It isn’t something that I’m proud of.  I grew up needing to be right, the undesirable product of deep seated insecurities.

It made me critical, judgmental, and focused on the offensive. It made me dogmatic and stubborn.

For a number of years, I have been consciously working at changing that, expanding my interactions to include those who differ vastly from me on pretty much everything, and have been trying hard to listen more. It is a process.

Additionally, I have made many big mistakes over the past ten years that have exposed weaknesses within. Facing the ramifications of these mistakes has forced me to deal with the concept of being human, fallible, and downright flawed. A wonderful foundation upon which to explore and build a new sense of self…

One that accepts, celebrates, and marvels at differences.

Seek out those who are different to you, for they will become your teacher if only you will let them.

Proviso; if you ask to be challenged or convinced around an idea or concept, but remain dogmatic, it doesn’t count.

Why motivating others doesn’t work…does it?

If motivating people was truly successful I would be jobless. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t really work, does it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and thrive on the feeling I get when I leave a room full of people with smiles on their faces and a sparkle in their eyes knowing that I have touched them in some way. Sometimes I struggle to see it as a job, and marvel that I get paid to do what I love.

clark-kent-superman-costume-plus-size

But the average motivational talk – no matter how good the motivator is – has a lifespan of anything between one hour and one week. That’s it.

The best motivators leave their audience feeling empowered to take on the world, change their lives for the better, and wage war on their fears and insecurities. From disempowered cubicle worker to superman in the blink of a keynote.

But ultimately nothing significant changes. Superman reverts to Dilbert in the blink of a report deadline and a phone call from the wife reminding him to get nappies and formula on the way home. Leaving little but the distant memory of a ‘feel good’ moment at the hands of a skilled motivator.

Sometimes we remember a thought or a line; sometimes we even make a conscious decision. But mostly we just enjoy the moment and the escape and smile inside – and isn’t that just fabulous!

The motivator is invited back, they loved him. “He’s Brilliant!” they say.

How brilliant is he if he has to go back!?

But the intention was never to transform an entire roomful of people into super-charged motivated-for-life energy bunnies. It was to plant seeds, challenge a way of thinking, inspire, provide smiles, and produce an odd ‘aha-moment’ or two.
A top up of the batteries as it were.

Self-sustained motivation comes from within. The truly motivated have an outlook, a demeanour, and an attitude that is different. They possess an energy that defies even the toughest personal hardships.

It is something that exists beyond the inevitable ups and downs of a life, like an undercurrent that flows regardless of circumstance. It seems to be an infinitely renewable resource. A sense of purpose even.

Mostly it starts with a decision. A choice to be positive. Happiness is a choice too. Understanding what makes you happy and making sure that those things are celebrated every day will go a long way to making you feel motivated.

Once in a while, one person sitting in the audience somewhere feels a little seed grab hold in fertile conditions that just happened to be right on the day. The message was congruent with their personal journey, and a life-altering moment is experienced.

The average fully grown tree produces approximately 750 000 seeds every year. Out of all of those seeds, 20 to 30 find conditions to begin life. Only one of those little seedlings might make it to maturity.
The entire process, the full season, was worth it if only one new tree can grow and become everything its DNA intended it to be.

Yup, let’s get him back.