The power to make a positive difference comes primarily from within. It has more to do with who we are than what we say. This is why Mahatma Gandhi said, “My life is my teaching” and “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Our example speaks louder than words, but our words are also a reflection of who we are as a person.
Gandhi is a great example of someone who transformed himself and the lives of many others when he shifted from self-consciousness to other-consciousness. From childhood to early adulthood, Gandhi felt awkward and self-conscious. He was shy and had many fears. Only when he became captivated by a passionate mission- a sense of purpose larger than himself-was he able to transcend his fears.
Gandhi’s compassion for the Indian people and his desire to free India from British rule became a burning desire that transformed Gandhi into a man of great courage, love, and inner strength. His life’s purpose took him beyond his petty self-concerns and self-imposed limitations. He became a great leader who inspired a nation to fulfill his mission.
Success and happiness that eludes us when we seek them directly will frequently come when our focus is on contributing to others. We need to get out of our own way and allow the power within to be expressed.
How to Find a Great Purpose
Many of us want to make a positive contribution. We want to know that our having lived on this earth made a positive difference in the lives of others. Your positive actions can inspire others to glimpse their own potential and to become what they are capable of becoming. This brings joy, meaning, and fulfillment to your life.
You may be wondering, “Okay, fine, but how am I supposed to find a great purpose that transcends my fears and self-concerns”? First, take a look at the multitude of problems and needs in the world. Which ones do you feel passionate about? Are there problems in the world that make you angry or sad? What inspires you to act? What impact do you want to have on the world? How could you use your talents to contribute to humanity? Answering questions like these can help you to discover how you want to be of service.
Your Enormous Potential
Many psychologists have said that most people use only a small percentage of their brain power and creativity. Enormous resources are within each of us, but they often remain dormant until we find a purpose that transcends our self. We move then from self-centeredness to focusing on our unique way of helping others. Like Gandhi, we can also rise above our weaknesses and liberate our dormant potential when we decide how we want to be of service. This is the secret for awakening the greatness within you.
Copyright 2007. Raymond Gerson.