Daily Leadership Thought #137 – Have We Lost Our Way?

May 13, 2011

We Lost Our Way by Seelensack on SoundCloud - Hear the world's sounds

Lately, as a society, It feels like we have lost our way. The disproportionate celebration of the individual has come at great expense to the family and community.  Other people have become props in our life who are discarded as they no longer suit our purpose.  We tolerate less and expect more.  We want what we want, and we want it now.  We are worried more about what strangers think than strengthening the bonds of our existing relationships.

It could be my age and being more aware of things, but I am convinced there are more egocentric people today than when I was younger.  You meet people like this all the time.  Whatever happens is always about them regardless of the situation and its consequences (for others).  Sadly, they have been buoyed in their attitudes by a cottage industry of self-help gurus and marketers that continue to reinforce the worldview that everyone should be the center of their own universe and everyone’s primary concern should be their own happiness and self-satisfaction.  It feels like people can no longer compromise or handle adversity.  How many of us even truly grasp and embrace the concepts of delayed gratification and self-sacrifice?

We expect to be happy and fulfilled all the time and paradoxically we are less happy.  You see the evidence everywhere: divorce rates now above 50%, parents putting their own needs ahead of their kids, parents over scheduling and stressing out their children and trying to live vicariously through their exploits, people switching jobs every 2-3 years, children living at home well into their Thirties, the number of people you know on anti-depressants, etc.  The offspring of the “ME” generation have clearly been paying attention to the actions and attitudes of their parents.  It is all quite sad.

The following secrets leading to a happy and fulfilling life have been communicated down through the ages, across cultures and religions:

  • Money and material things aren’t the pathway to joy or enlightenment and never will be;
  • True happiness comes from giving not getting;
  • Pay attention to your own attitudes and actions before rushing to judgment of others;
  • Treat people the way that you would want to be treated or better yet, treat them how they want to be treated;
  • Important relationships are like gardens – they need to be properly maintained or they will wither and die;
  • The grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence – count your blessing and be grateful for what you have;
  • People tend to live up to your expectations (either good or bad) and most people are good and deserve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise;
  • You get out of life what you put into it;
  • The moment you stop learning and growing is the moment you begin to die;
  • The important lessons in life will continually get more difficult until you learn them;
  • Life isn’t fair.  You often can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response to it.
  • And, we all meet the same end, what will matter then is the impact we had on other people.

We may have lost our way, but we can reroute and get back on track and it starts with you and me.  We know the answers.  We just need to wade through the murky waters of self-deception and conceit to get there.  The lessons and values we need to embrace are widely known, time tested, implementable and lead to better results.  We just need to let go of the Ego and embrace the needs of our fellow human beings.  We need to stop always putting ourselves and our needs first and then rationalizing our behavior.