Steve Harris, The Mind Doctor, takes us on a journey to prepare ourselves to become mentally tough. In this article he discusses Significance as part of mental toughness. The words that come to the fore to describe significance, and help you to become a better person, are decency, service, compassion, volunteering, charitable giving and making a positive difference. In other words, you need to let your humanity shine through.
Seek new Knowledge
The first of three action items on Steve’s list to become better people is to seek the knowledge and skills that makes you relevant, then you move on to becoming remarkable and finally rare.
Help Those Less Fortunate
The second is to help those less fortunate. For example, think of the work tennis legend, Roger Federer, has undertaken in poor communities. Yes, Federer gave money; however, more significantly, he practiced effective altruism in his philanthropic journey by becoming personally engaged in the effort to create a virtuous cycle. For more on this topic you may want to read about Good Ventures in The Business of Changing the World (Kumar, 2019). Their mission is to help humanity thrive. The book exposes you to options where markets created by rich and middle-class people can be leveraged and expanded to provide services for the poor.
Manage the Mess
This brings us to the third point relating to significance, which is to manage the mess. Our world is complex, particularly the people. To strive for significance requires of us to embrace complexity and chaos as opposed to throwing up our arms or spewing condemnation, frustration and blame about the mess we confront on a minute by minute basis. From Steve’s experience, chaos and order can live together. In this instance, we will restrict the subject matter to environmental mess – obviously, there are many other messes! You could start by becoming a low profile, yet significant, eco-guerrilla. These people are helpers not hooters. They commit to small, meaningful actions to create a better environment without blowing their hooter about what they are doing.
They respect their environment. They do not litter. Significantly, they clean up the litter left by others i.e. they manage the mess – not only their mess. For instance, when they spot plastic bags, bottles, cans, or scrap paper lying around in their proximity, they don’t pass it up they pick it up and dispense of it in a trashcan or even better recycle it appropriately. They go beyond their space and pick it up.
There are many embracing the concept of managing the mess. An example of someone going beyond picking up their personal mess is Boyan Slat https://www.theoceancleanup.com. However, if this seems too much for you, you may want to consider supporting a climate activist movement.
The Japanese spectators at the 2018 FIFA World Cup showed eco-guerrilla levels of responsibility. After losing to Belgium, the Japanese team cleaned the changing room, and their spectators cleared the mess in the stadium.
Eco-guerrillas additionally act to reduce their carbon footprint. Everyone has some influence over the greenhouse gasses that are contributing to climate change and their effects, such as increased incidents of super storms, and wildfires (including in the Amazon basin), droughts, Greenland’s ice melting, higher sea levels and floods. It sounds corny but we are going to discover that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the arctic.
If you do not know how to help, Steve suggests that you research reputable scientific papers on the subject. Emmanuel Macron, in his address to the US Congress on the 25th April 2018, put it this way: “There is no Planet B.”
Steve became deeply troubled by the tragedy of displaced communities and the human migration of refugees. Initially, he had not made the obvious link to climate change as a driver of this distressing phenomenon. The logic is palpable; if poor people can’t survive where they live because of environmental factors then they will “migrate” to a place where they have a greater chance to survive. Just as wild animals migrate when there is a drought or a veld fire to seek other areas to survive.
His concern is twofold. Firstly, we should urgently limit human contribution to climate change. This means we need to let go of beliefs that it is justifiable to damage our environment in the pursuit of a “better” economy. Secondly, we must not create false equivalencies to defend inhuman treatment of migrants. The problem is complex, but we can’t accept the conflation of “we have a right to protect our home” with inhumane treatment of refugees. Were borders closed to migrants when they fled to survive a war-torn Europe after the Second World War? If you Google ‘Climate apartheid’ you will see the effects that climate change denial is having on the poor.
If the problem of climate change is worrying you – and it should be – you may want to read about Katrin Jacobsdottir as an example of a concerned citizen. Before becoming the Prime Minister of Iceland, her road to significance included being an eco-activist.
Another high-profile activist was, the then sixteen-year-old, Time Magazine Person of the Year 2019 – Greta Thunberg. You could listen to her speech on September 23rd, 2019 given to the UN assembly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMrtLsQbaok
What are your thoughts about becoming more significant?
Motivational Speaker Dr Steve Harris has a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on to bring you the ultimate conference, team building or motivational experience. Using a variety of strategies and proven activities, Dr Steve Harris can help you and your team find their mental toughness. Contact Steve to check his availability at a venue of your choice.