Lao Tzu once wrote ‘[A wise person] acts without claiming the results as his; he achieves his merit and does not rest (arrogantly) in it:- he does not wish to display his superiority.’ This in itself is just one quality of the wise.
I’d like to add two more – generosity and the ability to dream.
1. The humility quality
Humility is constantly under attack from the hordes called pride and ambition. At times it is under siege, completely surrounded, and then at other times, an ambush is set in place to overthrow the fragility of humility.
And why is it so fragile? Because it refuses to promote itself. It discards self-pompous elevation. It chooses to celebrate the efforts of the team rather than to receive the accolades of the individual.
It finds it uncomfortable to stand in line to receive the outpouring of awards or medals. It would rather work quietly in the background in a supportive role, and let others receive the glory. And it is because of that fragility that it needs to be handled with great care.
Pride, humility’s mortal enemy, could at any moment tip the balance that makes up the humble heart.
But the secret to keeping humility as your companion, in all its fragility, is to establish a permanent fixture in your life.
This foundation clearly initiates that whenever praise is heaped upon you, that you will choose to look up and give glory to the One who in the first place created the humility, and then secondly created the very heart of the humility holder.
Walk in humility, for the world is crying out for leadership that demonstrates this quality on a daily basis.
2. The generous quality
By living a generous life, you’re in fact giving two gifts every time you give one to another. For the gift you give is the gift you receive.
Let me explain.
Every time someone chooses to give, something happens on the inside of the giver. It’s as if a spark of life is ignited within.
Simultaneously, it’s as if a gift has been deposited into the depths of your very own heart. And particularly, if you have no expectation of a return, nor a thank you – nothing – it makes the whole experience just that much richer.
For every gift you give, so that others live, you will receive the gift of life. And that is why a giver will always be a longer liver.
The reason is quite simple. A universal law guides the principle of giving. That universal law is the law of sowing and reaping. It clearly states that as you sow, so shall you reap.
Life is not about getting. True and fulfilled living is about giving.
Whenever I come across a giver, they are clearly identified by the characteristics of a smile, a sense of a greater purpose than themselves, and a vibrancy for life that is contagious.
So let me encourage you to give yourself a gift. And how do you do that? Find another, in greater need than yourself, and give of your time, your treasure or your talent.
Then stand back and watch, as a greater life for you will be unveiled before your very eyes – both now and in the future.
3. The dreamer quality
Henry David Thoreau urged us to ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.’
Many live their lives being driven by circumstances – by making a living, by paying the mortgage, or by keeping up appearances.
May I suggest that there is a far better way to live your life. And that is to ‘go confidently in the direction of your dreams’. Make your dreams the compass that guides your every decision, and leads your every step.
At times the dream may even direct you to discard the acceptable, the normal, and to even abandon the status quo. But by doing so you will embark upon a life so exciting, so exhilarating, that at times it will even take your breath away.
To live a life totally bound by meetings, schedules, tasks, or programs can ultimately deaden the dream, if you let it. So make a point to at times choose to ignore the email, the voice mail, the diary entry, and pause to rediscover the dream.
In confidence then, take your next step in the direction of your dreams. Let it be the light that leads you through the darkness of a busy and demanding life.
Reach down into your pulsating heart and pull out your purpose. Reappoint. Reposition. It’s never too late. You will never ever reach your ‘use by’ date. Your dream is as fresh today as it was ten years ago.
All it takes is to confidently take a single step – the first step – in the direction of your dream, and you will be back on track, back in the game – ready to score the winning goal of a life lived well, and a life lived fully.