Every Wasted Life is a Tragedy
All human beings have enormous potential. Every wasted life is a tragedy. Death is the ultimate waste of a life, but lesser tragedies are occurring daily all around us and to many more people.
What of the wasted potential that happens when a person does not understand his abilities, his strengths and what his purpose in life is? All around us we see unhappy frustrated people. People who are leading lives of crime, or just of apathy. They go to work, they come home, they watch television, they go to the pub or the opera, they mow their lawn. But they are on auto pilot. They don’t really understand or even think about why they do what they do. They are simply on their own personal hamster wheel, running to stay still.
And these are just the ordinary people. Others, a rarer breed luckily, misuse their lives, indulging in crime, violence and drug or alcohol abuse. These tragic people are on their own hamster wheel too, but a much more destructive one. We tend to notice them because of the negative effects their behaviour has upon other people’s lives.
Our Personal Summit
I believe that all humans have the potential and the desire to achieve something wonderful in their lives. Some of us achieve this and those are the people that we notice, the ones who stand out from the crowd. The Dame Ellen MacArthurs, the Mahatma Ghandis. They found their purpose in life, their own personal reason for being and achieved astonishing feats as a consequence. Many others achieve their life mission in a smaller but no less important way; actors, writers, doctors who aren’t just in it for the money, certain successful businessmen (like Richard Branson or Jim Rohn). They all contribute in some way, not just to their own happiness, but to the enhancement of others lives.
What Stops Us?
The rest of us, the vast majority, just plod along on auto pilot, and then look back and wonder where the years went, and what exactly they have achieved.
What stops us from achieving our own personal summit? A mixture of things. For some it is an unfortunate upbringing; a childhood tainted by negative or even violent parents. Some of us are dulled by hopelessness, fear of change, habit or inertia. We humans are very quick to learn. But unfortunately we are also quick to learn the wrong things! We learn bad habits, bad attitudes, misinformed ideas and limiting beliefs. Once we’ve developed this negative way of thinking, we are very resistant to changing our ideas. We humans are also quick to be afraid. We fear the unknown and this stops us from evolving, from trying new things, and accepting new beliefs.
What Brings Out Our Best?
Often we have simply never been stretched, never forced into a situation that brought out the best in us. Stress can turn ordinary people into superstars. Ordinary people find out that they are not so ordinary after all but are capable of extraordinary acts of bravery or heroism. The terrorist attacks in New York and the on London tube in recent years, produced examples of this. Situations like the First and Second World Wars also put people under extreme pressure. The stress of these occasions can squeeze people and force out qualities they didn’t know they had; qualities like courage, resourcefulness, leadership and innovative ideas.
The tragedy is that most people will never be stretched, will never be squeezed until their best, most extraordinary qualities emerge into the light of day. Why can’t we find our own best qualities? Why wait for an occasion that may never happen, to be the best that we can be?
Set Yourself a Mission
People often wonder what they are capable of and many never find out. Set yourself a mission. Find out who you are and what you can become. Seek out new situations, new ideas and new people. Read books, learn new skills and step outside of your comfort zone. You may be surprised at what you find! And let there be one less wasted life in this world.