Do you want to be heard?
~ Speak softly.
Do you want to be strong?
~ Offer gentleness.
Do you want to influence?
~ Be authentic.
Imagine a mountain stream of flowing, rushing, bubbling, fresh water. In that stream is a large boulder.
Observe it and these three truths become obvious:
- It is silent.
- It is solid.
- It deftly parts the water.
The same is true of the human condition — Whoever is the most certain wins.
Competitive greatness is not an evil premise. If everyone improves through the effort of each individual to grow into a better person, there is a cumulative mutual benefit.
To Gain There Will Be Pain
With pain comes the opportunity for offense. When hurt, how do we react? Do our emotions run wild, resulting in a primitive reaction of — Freeze, Flight, or Fight? Or, do we use that first moment, when we’re frozen in disbelief, to purposefully choose our response?
Can we speak softly to simply state our beliefs?
Can we wrap gentleness around a definitive position?
Can we be authentic and true to the passion at our core?
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
There is a caveat to softly, gently, and authentically communicating our beliefs to others. It produces mutual benefit, only, when we are analogous to streams of living waters. An inlet and an outlet are necessary to produce living water. What about those individuals who are more analogous to a swamp?
The answer is inherent in a riddle:
Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.
Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.
What?! Yes —
Don’t follow their illogical rabbit trails through the briars.
Do state positions of belief — softly, gently, and authentically.
What is the surest way to discover if someone is a fool? If the individual listens, they are wise. If they are quick to interrupt and be disrespectful of any position contrary to their own, they are a fool.
Hard is easy — Easy is hard
Regardless of the condition of others, we can only change ourselves into better individuals. It is so very easy to be shrill, brash, and wishy-washy. It is so very hard to communicate with our Butler’s voice, in our Servant apron, and from our True heart — while grounded in gentle strength.