For anyone who was wondering what happened to Two Worlds yesterday, I didn’t send it in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. day. I always find that reflecting on such an incredible human being who lived in modern times and whose life directly is partially responsible for the life I live today gives me a sense of clarity about the work I’m here to do.
This year was no different.
What was more clear to me this year in thinking about his life than in any year prior, was the balance that he struck between gratitude and dissatisfaction. I don’t need to read any quotes of his to know that he struck this balance. It is evident in his work and his efficacy.
You see, you can’t be the kind of hero he was, with the kind of belief he had without immense gratitude. You must appreciate the miracle of life, the Earth, the breath in our lungs, and the existence of the human race itself to dedicate so much of your life to make it better. And you must do so with intense kindness and reason and compassion.
At the same time, you must know that humans are imperfect and aren’t always doing the right thing. That there is in fact something better that we can be, collectively.
Martin Luther King Jr. said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
The wisdom in this statement is powerful.
Try to name a single hero who was known for doing things only for themselves?
What gets you out of your ego and self-pity more than serving others?
In the Ikigai model for purpose, two of the four defining traits are about you. What you like to do and what you are good at. The other two are about others, what the world needs, and what the world will pay you for.
If you are wondering what’s holding you back from the greatness you know you have within, it might have something to do with how grateful you are for others as well as how dissatisfied you are with something that others are experiencing. You won’t answer the call to your journey unless the risk of doing nothing is higher than the risk of setting out.
Some of us can say our family is that thing we feel true gratitude for and live to serve. This is great because you can identify with the feeling I’m talking about, but if it stops there then the scope of your purpose is limited. Remember, Ikigai calls on you to be big enough for the world to need what you have to give, not just your family.
What about our neighbors, our co-workers and our fellow citizens? What about children or the elderly who are not our family? What about the poor? What about those struggling with anxiety and depression?
What touches you and makes you grateful and dissatisfied at the same time?
Have you found your people for whom you are grateful for and will dedicate yourself to serve? If you have, count yourself among the fortunate ones.
If not, then that is your work. This, more than anything is the work. Without clarity of life purpose, we live fractional lives. We are here for a reason, and we must first find our reason. Then we can set out to be the great person we know lives within us.
Gratitude is not just something you think about, it is a practice of action. Serving others is not just something you can intend to do, you have to actually do it.
I write this newsletter because I know how powerful you are. I believe in you so much. I believe the world is suffering more than we should because our heroes have forgotten who they are and why they’re here. They are settling for waking up every day and going through the motions. But that is barely a life.
You are worthy of being someone who helps others. You are worthy of feeling great about yourself and what you are doing with your time here on Earth.
What do you love that you also know should be a lot better than it is? It may be a list of things. Write them down. Share them with me if you like.
Martin Luther King Jr. not only changed the world while he lived, he also left a legacy that inspires us all long after he died. That’s the real gift that a hero gives to the world.
Have a grateful day.