30 October 2010

The Principles for Greatness: #4 Be Yourself & Leaving a Legacy

Continuing from previous post The Principles for Greatness: #3 Contented Yet Be Better,  this is the last pair of the phrases:
Not losing oneself will last. 不失其所者久。
Died and yet one’s legacy continues is long life. 死而不亡者,壽
Being True to Yourself – Don’t try to be Someone you’re Not

Becoming your true self is natural and is the easiest thing to do. Trying and pretending to be someone that we are not is tough and stressful. Hence, such acting cannot last long.  The first thing in life is to find out what we are good for.  In Christian world, it is called knowing your calling.  We are to believe that we are created for a unique purpose. This also means that we must recognize that will be things that we love to do and there will be things that we dislike or don’t do too well. People call them “Strengths” and “Weaknesses”. But we discussed elsewhere that strengths or weaknesses are known only in the context of requirement. The strength for a task could be a weakness for another task. We just need to accept the reality that we are not superman and we are limited. More importantly, it is OK that we are limited in some ways.
No one is measured on things he cannot do. We are all measured by what we do with ability and talents that we have and not what we don’t. In fact, we are most impressed by people who do things they they are not suppose to be able too. We are impressed by the man who play piano with his toes because he has no hand. The man without limbs live a life that impact more lives than we can do with ours. Don’t be upset by what you cannot do like someone else. They are built differently for a different purpose than you. You have your own unique calling for life.
In the famous Parable of Talents of Bible (Matthew 25:14-30) , both the 10-talent one who made 1o more and the 5-talent one are equally rewarded. Punishment went to the 1-talent one who did nothing with it but just bury it. Don’t be concern with what you don’t have. Try to do something with what you have. You will break free to become your true and useful self. Remember the following:
Focus and build on your strengths* and you become a champion. If you focus on your weaknesses* and if you do succeed, you are just a mediocre average!
Develop your strengths and manage** your weaknesses and you will become a champion.
*Strengths are things that you like to do. The more you do them, the more energized you got. Weaknesses are things that you hate to do. You try to avoid them and if you do them, you get stressed up, headache, and you don’t do well.
**Manage your weaknesses does not mean ignore them. You manage them by outsourcing or delegate them to others who love to do them for you.  Manage involves finding the reliable and right people to do the things you don’t like, delegating, motivating and communicating your needs.
By developing on our unique strengths and doing the things we like, the things we naturally do well, we will excel in them. The success motivates us to do more. Such work don’t tire us. They vitalized us. Hence, Lao Zi said that “Not loosing oneself, just be your true self, and it will last”.

Leaving a Legacy – Your Live On Forever
Not only we want to be our true self, we want to do meaningful and significant things with our uniqueness. We use what we have to impact the lives around us for good. Somehow in the depth our soul, we want to live on forever. While we may not live to see it (for true Christians, you can see it from Heaven), the impact of our lives live on: through the children we brought up, the institutions we built, the friends and relatives we connected with, and so forth. The key question in our mind tend to be, what is the legacy I leave behind?
This legacy, whether good or bad, will out live us. A famous Chinese saying reminded us of this. 明·王世贞《艺苑卮言》卷三:“桓玄子恒言 ‘不能流芳百世,亦当贻臭万年’, If we cannot leave behind sweet fragrance for hundred generations, at least leave behind a pungent smell for ten thousand years. It actually reminds that we will leave behind an influence that will out last us. What is it that we will leave behind will be decided by what we do with our uniqueness of capabilities and limitations.
Find out what are the meaningful and significance things that you like to do naturally.  Meaningful things tend to others centered. They are pro-life, pro-community, pro-environment. Work on them passionately. You will leave behind a sweet fragrance influence that last thousand generations. Guy Kawasaki’ recommends to the entrepreneurs, (my paraphrase below)
The essence of entrepreneurship is making meaning, not money.
Make Meaning makes Money.
Make Money loose meaning and eventually no money.
In summary, develop your strengths and manage your weaknesses so that you can work for long with vitality and joy. Use them to leave behind a meaningful legacy that out live you to last for generations.

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