Almost every year, for the last 15+ years, I have been honored to give a short interactive leadership presentation to young people at an annual leadership development event sponsored by HOBY. It has always been a rewarding and inspiring experience for me. It is fun to spend time in the presence of youthful energy, optimism, and hopefulness.
HOBY is an amazingly positive organization. Participants are usually “rising HS juniors” invited, or nominated, by their schools for a weekend retreat exploring, learning, and putting into use their leadership wings.
This morning, I will share one of the stories, a parable of sorts, I often impart as part of my presentation to HOBY. I am not the author of the story nor have I any idea who should receive proper credit. If you know the author, or where it comes from, please let me know. Following is shortened version:
One sunny afternoon, a man and his grandson were hiking in the beautiful, but ragged, Sawtooth mountains of Idaho. They were enjoying the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and the sounds of nature when the young boy, stumbling over a sharp rock, fell and cut open the skin on his knee.
“Ouch!” yelled the young boy. “Ouch!” returned an echo off the canyon wall across the ridge.
Not having heard an echo before, the boy was startled and yelled back in the direction of the echo, “Who is out there?”
The echo returned, “Who is out there?””
“Show yourself,” the boy insisted.
“Show yourself,” returned the echo.
“You’re making me mad.”
…“You’re making me mad!”
You get the point.
The wise grandfather asked the young boy to sit on a fallen tree while he tended to the bleeding knee. Having cleaned and bandaged the knee, the grandfather saw an opportunity to teach the boy an important life lesson. After explaining what an echo is and why they occur, the wise man turned to face the canyon wall and shouted, “Hello out there!”
…“Hello out there,” returned the echo.
Continuing the grandfather shouted, “Good morning!” and the echo returned, “Good morning!”
“How are you?”
…“How are you?”
Then, “I love you!”
…“I love you!”
“Have a good day!”
…“Have a good day!”
He then sat down by his grandson to see if the bleeding had stopped. He said son, “This is an important life lesson; much of life works like an echo. Not always, but certainly often enough, what you give out in life, is what you get back. If you send out negative energy, anger, bitterness, and the like, you encourage people to respond in kind. The opposite tends to be true as well.
If you want to have friends, you must first be friendly. If you want love, be loving. If you want help, be helpful to others. Desire respect? Then respect not only yourself, but others too. If you want kindness, be kind.
Repeating, much of life works exactly like an echo. You choose the energy you put out into the world and it will be naturally returned, just like an echo.”
It is easy to see this lesson at work, in a negative way, in real life today, on the news, in our communities and even in our families. We can do better! We can be the leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of the people we work with, live with, and love.
I submit this concept even applies in respect to our own personal mental health. Is your personal self-talk negative or positive; respectful or hurtful; loving or abrasive; understanding or judgmental? If you do not like your answer to these questions, maybe this is the place to begin this week.”
What echoes will you hear today?
I would welcome your ideas on this topic. What suggestions would you offer to my readers? Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
- While looking at yourself in the mirror this week, give yourself a big smile. Acknowledge three qualities that are unique to only you. (If you had a negative thought just now, stop it!)
- Make it a goal to get three people to smile this morning before lunch. (My brother-in-law, a doctor, drew a smiley face 😊 on his surgical mask since people cannot see his real smile. He reports it is working well.)
- Instead of reflecting the negative energy someone sends in your direction today, run it through your positive energy converter and send back a kind word of understanding and appreciation.
- Send three people a positive text or email for no other purpose than to let them know you are thinking about them today and sending positive energy in their direction.
Have a good week. Thank you for taking time to read this missive today. I hope your world is just a tad more positive today than it was yesterday, or last week, or maybe last month. I wrote most of this at 30,000 feet yesterday from an airplane, my first air travel in more than six months. I am smiling!
As always, how will you love, live, or lead better, or differently, this week?
Do you know anyone who might benefit from these weekly missives? If so, please forward this link.
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success?
- “What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action” – Meister Eckhart
- “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
- “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” – W Clement Stone
- “You will always reap what you sow: there is no shortcut.” – Stephen R. Covey
- “Life is like a garden, you reap what you sow.” – Paulo Coelho
- “You get from the world what you give to the world.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “You can’t litter negatively everywhere and then wonder why you’ve got a trashy life.” – Unknown
- “Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow you reap. What you give you get. What you see in others, exists in you.” – Zig Ziglar
- “The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and your reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – James Allen
- “You reap what you sow: Life is like a boomerang. Our thoughts, words, and deeds return to us sooner or later, with outstanding accuracy.” – Grant M. Bright