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A wise man once said, "If you put your mind to it, you can ...

Putting Work behind Your Ideas to Achieve Your Dreams

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” – Richard Bach

Finally for this month, let’s talk about the effort, resolve, and fuel that we have to put behind our ideas in order to achieve our dreams. Some mistakenly believe that when they are pursuing their goals that it is going to be easy-peasy.

You may dream of being your own boss for the freedom to make your own decisions and decide how you want to spend your time. If you have been working a demanding job where even if you could afford to take a vacation you never had the time to do so, the idea of owning your own business may sound like heaven.

But don’t forget, being your own boss does not mean that you have no boss. It means that you are the boss. You have to have the discipline to force yourself to do the work necessary to make your business or venture a success.

Whatever we do for a living, whether we are working for ourselves or working for someone else, it is work. Think about famous movie stars. They get paid millions of dollars. People envy them and their lives. They live in a world of glitz and glamour and red carpet galas.

Yet even they have work to do. Before the award shows, they spend hours and hours on set or on location away from their families filming the movie. The difference is they love acting and so those hours and hours on the set aren’t grueling in the way that riding on the back of a garbage truck would be.

Furthermore, when you pursue your goals, it may take a while, even years to attain the type of lifestyle and financial gain that you seek. Are you willing to put in the work to get there? If you are working from a sense of purpose in pursuit of your passions, you will be willing to put forth the effort to get there.

Your resolve is your determination to never give up no matter what comes your way. When you take a leap of face and gamble on yourself but are not resolved to stay the course, you will not have the power to push through the roadblocks, setbacks, and letdowns on the road to pursuing your goals.

Your effort is the time and energy it takes to get you there. It is flipping burgers or riding on the back of garbage trucks, sometimes working two and three jobs in order to save up the money necessary to back your ideas.

Your passion is the fuel that keeps the fires burning and renews your motivation whenever you grow weary. Without all three of these elements pushing you and encouraging you along the way, your gamble will prove fruitless.

If you believe in yourself and you are truly passionate about your ideas and achieving your goals, there is nothing that will stop you. The power is within you. When you keep your goal line in sight through your vision, it makes the work you put into it easier knowing it is necessary to reach your dreams.

“When you have an interest or passion for something, practice, acquiring knowledge, spending lots of time and attention on it is easy to do” – Maya Grace

Maya GracePutting Work behind Your Ideas to Achieve Your Dreams
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Fueling Your Work with Your Passion

“If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” – Kahlil Gibran

The ancient philosopher and teacher Confucius is credited with saying “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you do what you love to do for a living then you know that the saying is true.

Those of you have been following this blog for a while, or even if you just landed here today, are thinking about making changes in your life. That’s good; it is the first step toward achieving your goals.

Most of the people I hear from not only want to change themselves but they want to change their careers. They want to stop working to pay the bills and start working toward fulfilling their dreams. When that is your goal, you move from the work-a-day grind that most settle for and begin moving toward your purpose.

The fact is, in this life, we have to work in order to live. Some jobs we take just to pay the bills. You have kids, you have rent or house payments to make, car payments, etc. Unless you have a trust fund or a rich uncle somewhere, you are like most of us who have no choice but to do work that we do not love.

So why does Gibran say to quit doing work that you do not love? It’s not to say that you shouldn’t work at all unless you are doing what you love. Frankly, in the meantime you probably don’t have a choice. The point of the quote however is to not settle for just paying the bills.

You can be working at a burger joint as a cashier but that doesn’t mean that is your final stop. Unless you really love working in fast food, it should only serve as a means to an end. You should be working toward your real goal and your stint working a job that you hate should be temporary.

However, too many times, we get stuck doing work that we hate either for comfort or for fear. Perhaps you have a really good paying job that pays all of the bills and then some, but you are not happy. In fact, you are miserable, stressed, tired, and willing to chuck it all rather than do that work another day.

If that is the case, like the quote says, you might as well stand at the temple gates and beg for alms rather than continue on your path. Is it comfort that is keeping you where you are? Or is it fear that holds you back from taking a chance?

Those are questions you have to ask yourself and then ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’ Financial comfort is worthless if you have no peace of mind and are stressed to the point of sickness. And fear is a worthless emotion when it prevents you from pursuing your own happiness.

When Michelangelo was asked how he created his masterpieces, he responded, “When I look at a block of marble, I see the sculpture inside of it. All I have to do is remove what doesn’t belong.” It is time for you to start removing what doesn’t belong to start creating your masterpiece – your life’s work.

“Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubts as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny.” – Paulo Coelho

Maya GraceFueling Your Work with Your Passion
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How to Strike a Work/Life Balance

Finding Balance between Work and Life

“People who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.” – Pope Francis

You know what they say, ‘all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.” That sentiment is very true. And when you are following your passion and doing something that you love to do, it is even harder sometimes to find that work life balance that you need to live in harmony.

Back in 1994, the former CEO of the Coca Cola Company compared finding work life balance to juggling five balls. He said that work is a rubber ball while the other four balls, health, spirit, friendships, family, are all made out of glass.

“You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.” But if you drop one of the other four balls, “they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

If you recall our discussion of the universal law of harmony back in September, you know that when you are out of balance, your spirit is constantly working to bring your life back into balance. You will never feel truly fulfilled working outside of the law of harmony.

Worse when you are out of balance within your spirit it manifests itself physically as well. Add to that what Bryan Dyson (former CEO of Coca Cola) said about irrevocably damaging the most important things in life when we are too focused on work and not finding the proper balance, it is imperative that you must learn to strike the right balance.

Help with Finding Balance

There are 3 basic areas of your life that require your daily attention in order to maintain a healthy work life balance. They are:

Time

The root cause to an imbalance between life and work is how you manage your time. You must work in order to live and even to follow your passions. When you love what you do, you can get lost tinkering, planning, and focusing on those things. Set specific working hours for yourself; make a cut off time each day for when work ends and stick to it.

Self

Taking care of self breaks down into three parts: Your physical health, your spiritual health, and your mental health. When either of these is out of balance your whole world is out of balance. Plus there is a ripple effect that springs from each of them.

If your physical health is suffering, you will not feel good internally. You may become depressed or give in to despair. If you don’t feel good spiritually or mentally, it manifests physically in stress, anxiety, moodiness, and anger.

If you are the type that keeps on going and going even when you know you need rest or you are sick and need to take some medicines, you are going to burn yourself out. You need to listen to your body and your spirit and make time for self in order to recharge and restore your inner and outer being.

Family

Finally, without family or loved ones, we are all alone in this world. You must take the time to enjoy life with them, not let life circle around you while you are buried in your work. Show them how much they mean to you by giving them your time and attention when your work day is done each and every day.

Maya GraceFinding Balance between Work and Life
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Work Worth Doing

Finding Motivation Doing Work Worthwhile

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Last month we took a moment to reflect on four people who embodied the law of service through their selflessness and service to humanity. Hopefully their stories helped to renew your confidence and to inspire you to achieve great things.

This month we want to talk about work and how all of the concepts we have discussed over the last year on this blog come together to shape the way in which we work. For this post, let’s piggyback on last month’s posts by discussing finding your motivation by doing work that is worthwhile.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, it is a prize to be able to work hard at work worth doing. When you are thinking about your goals and making changes in your life, what type of goals are you attempting to achieve? Is it worthwhile because of its effect on you and your life personally or does it help humanity in any way?

Now you may think your goals have nothing to do with humanity. Your goal may be to get out of a dead end job and make more money. However, we have discussed before how money and superficial ends do not often produce the healthiest of outcomes. Let’s face it, money can’t buy you everything; it can’t buy you love and it can’t buy you happiness.

So first, as you think about the work that you are doing, think about a worthwhile end that you hope to achieve as well. Even if you are dreaming of becoming a business owner, do you plan on giving back to your community? Is there any cause that you feel strongly about that your position as a successful business owner will help you to achieve?

It could be something as simple as making a pact with yourself to pay your workers handsomely. You were in a dead end job not getting paid what you felt you were worth. Make it a goal to be a different type of employer who pays it forward.

You can make a difference no matter what work you do as long as you do your best and you work from a place of positivity and honesty. Tony Kushner has a great quote that sums this sentiment up very well:

“At every moment in every person’s life there is work to be done, always work to be done, some of it small, some of it great. The great work, in a sense, always has to do with healing the world, changing the world, and, as a necessary predicate to that, understanding the world. You rise every morning aware that you are called to this work. You won’t live to see it finished. But if you can’t hear it calling, you aren’t listening hard enough.”

 

Maya GraceFinding Motivation Doing Work Worthwhile
Mother Teresa cradles an armless baby girl at her Order's orphanage in Calcutta, in 1978. Photo: AP

Find Inspiration from Change Makers: Mother Teresa

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

Finally this month I want to talk about a woman who was known the whole world over for her generosity and her spirit of service to humanity. I’m speaking of course of the iconic Mother Teresa whose devotion to the poorest of the poor inspired hope in the most destitute places on earth and inspired millions to give more than money but to give their love and time.

In her 87 years on earth Mother Teresa followed an often lonely and heartbreaking path going to areas that most would not. She cared for lepers. She fed the poor. She brought attention to the plight of those living in the abysmal slums of Calcutta. Always eschewing praise and honors for herself, her love of charity and compassion started early under the loving embrace of her faithful parents.

A Foundation of Charity

Born to devout Catholics, Mother Teresa was baptized the day after her birth and christened as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. She was an Albanian born in Macedonia. Her father was a businessman and tradesman as well as an ardent supporter of Albanian Independence. It is believed that his political involvement was the reason for his sudden death when Agnes was 8 years old.

After her father’s death, Agnes and her mother grew even closer. Her mother was also a devout Catholic who emphasized charity and led by example. She would invite the poor, friends, and family alike to eat with the two even though they did not have a lot to share.

She instructed her daughter to “never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.” That influenced Agnes’ charitable spirit and would inspire her life’s work as a nun working in the most poverty stricken areas on the globe to feed the poor and comfort the unwanted.

Angel of Mercy 

The woman who we would eventually know as Mother Teresa was educated by nuns all throughout her schooling. At the age of 12 she felt that she was called to live her life as a nun. By the time she was 18 years old she left Macedonia for Ireland where she joined a cloister in Dublin. 

That is when she officially adopted the name Mary Teresa in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux. Before becoming a nun, Sister Mary Teresa was first required to fulfill her novitiate. She chose to do so in India where she took her vows in 1931. It is there that she began working and teaching in Calcutta at St. Mary’s High School for Girls; Calcutta would eventually be the place where she would spend the majority of her life as an angel of mercy to the destitute. 

Six years after taking up residency in Calcutta, Sister Teresa made a vow of poverty, obedience, and chastity as well as adopting the title “Mother” after taking her final vows. She remained dedicated to her school and the education of girls in India, writing in her prayers, “Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them at last to you.”

Mother Teresa and the Law of Service

For more than 50 years, Mother Teresa’s commitment to the law of service made a noticeable impact on the world, though no place more strongly felt than in the destitute streets of Calcutta. Her mission: to help “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” She spent decades establishing leper colonies, missions, schools, orphanages, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Her congregation of missionaries established as the Missionaries of Charity swelled from just a few teachers and students to over 4,000 volunteers, sisters, students, and teachers. She is credited with establishing more than 600 foundations on all seven continents.

When the HIV epidemic erupted around the globe, at a time when most were afraid to even come into contact with the infected, Mother Teresa started a refuge for them at the Gift of Love home. Her devotion resulted in numerous awards and recognitions by governments around the world including:

  • The Jewel of India Award
  • The Gold Medal of the Soviet Peace Committee
  • And The Nobel Peace Prize for her work “bringing help to suffering humanity.”

By the end of her life she still worked and traveled even though her health was failing. After her death in 1997, her writings were published revealing her struggle with her faith and her feelings of despair, which served to humanize this often lionized global figure. Six years after her passing she was canonized by the Catholic Church.

Change Makers and the Law of Service

Though all four of this month’s change makers worked towards different goals and in different times, what they share in common is a mastery of the universal law of service. Their ability to sacrifice their own personal safety, comfort, desires, and sometimes lives for the betterment of all is something that we should all admire and strive for in our lives.

The more we dedicate our energies to helping those around us, the more peace we feel inside, even in the midst of incredible adversity. What issues are you passionate about? What are the steps that you can take to help make a difference in our world? In the words of Mother Teresa:

“Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.”

Maya GraceFind Inspiration from Change Makers: Mother Teresa
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/09/malala-yousafzai-from-a-schoolgirl-to-a-nobel-peace-prize-winner/

Find Inspiration from Change Makers: Malala Yousafzai

“Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself… By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities.” – Malala Yousafzai

Our next two change makers for this month are women who through their selfless service have made an enormous impact on the lives of others and the world as a whole. One thing that they both have in common is that their parents’ influence shaped their lives in a positive direction and gave them the wisdom, knowledge, and the courage to fight for what’s right and to do good works.

Malala Yousafzai is one of those two who put those of us who come up with excuses for why we can’t make a difference to shame. Her activism began at the tender age of 11 and the threats to her life were real and would eventually prove to be near fatal. From that crisis Malala became stronger. Her fight went from local to global seemingly overnight, fighting for the right of women and girls around the world to be educated.

A Father unlike Most 

In Pakistan as in many countries around the world, women are denied the right to an education. In Swat Valley where Malala Yousafzai was born and raised, it was no different. However, Malala had a father that was not like most others.

Ziauddin Yousafzai is a staunch advocate of the right of all to receive an education. In Pakistan where they are 2nd in the world in the number of children who do not attend school, Zaiuddin built a private school for girls adjacent to the family home. There Malala thrived and learned just like her brothers did.

When the Taliban took over the Swat Valley in 2008, they went on a rampage shutting down schools for girls. Instead of cowering in the face of these violent Islamic fundamentalists, Malala at only 11 years old traveled to Peshawar to denounce the Taliban’s efforts to deny girls the right to an education.

Her father encouraged her activism, proudly supporting her efforts to enable her and her classmates to continue in their schooling. In 2009 her father gave her the idea to spread her message even further by blogging about what was happening in the Swat Valley to young girls. She did.

Resilience in the Face of Fear

The BBC allowed Malala to post her blogs on BBC Urdu under an assumed name; Gul Makai. She spoke about the threats that the Taliban had issued to girls throughout Pakistan and how they had systematically begun closing down schools for girls in the region.

Eventually her cover was blown and her real name disclosed from other news organizations. That winter the Taliban targeted Yousafzai’s school demanding that her father shut it down. Malala continued to advocate for equal education for all women, even being nominated for the 2011 Children’s Peace Prize by Bishop Desmond Tutu.

As her fame began to spread the Taliban issued a death threat against the young 14 year old Malala in order to get her to stop her activism. It scared her and she worried about her family and her father in particular. None of them truly believed that they would kill a child. The Yousafzais like many families in the Swat Valley eventually left.

The Act that Shocked the World

After several years of advocating on behalf of girls, the world did not know who Malala was but everyone in Pakistan did including the Taliban. On an October day in 2012 when Malala was on a bus headed home after school, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head injuring two of her classmates as well.

Malala was in critical condition. She was immediately taken to the Peshawar military hospital and then sent to Birmingham, England for more intense treatment. When news of this horrific act spread, an outpouring from around the world condemned the act and support for her cause only amplified.

Malala survived the shooting and had to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage done to the nerves in her face which had been paralyzed. Fortunately there was no brain damage found and after several months in the hospital, Malala was released in January. Two months later she began high school in Birmingham, England where she and her family remain.

Empowering Women through Education 

Named after a Pashtun heroine, Malala has more than lived up to the name which literally means “grief stricken.”  After such violence, how many of us would have given up? How many of us would have just accepted the new reality in Pakistan where women are subjugated permanently by denying them the right to an education?

Since her ordeal Malala has become a global celebrity giving speeches in front of the United Nations, the World Bank, and traveling around the world to support the cause of which she has said is “the cause to which I want to devote my life.”

Now only 18 years old, Malala has written an autobiography entitled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban while still living under the threat issued by the Taliban to this very day. Her foundation, the Malala Fund is funding her mission to build schools anywhere that girls and women are denied an education.

In 2013 Time Magazine named her one of the world’s most influential people. In 2014 she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. The list of acclimations goes on and on including:

  • In 2012 she was awarded the Pakistan National Peace Award, now named the National Malala Peace Prize.
  • In response to the attack, the Pakistani National Assembly ratified the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill just weeks after the shooting.
  • In 2013 she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.
  • This month a documentary about Malala’s life produced by the same famed director of An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman will be released.

Even with all of that the struggle still continues. She is still a target of the Taliban in Pakistan who have continued to destroy girls’ schools throughout the country. By both bombings in the rural areas of Pakistan and poison attacks by neighboring Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the work continues and the threats have not ceased. Those claiming responsibility for the attack on Malala saying, “Malala is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity.” 

Malala Yousafzai and the Law of Service

Just like all truly great change makers, Malala does not seek fame and fortune. Instead of using her public profile to benefit herself, she has poured every dime into continuing to ensure that women and girls everywhere have a chance for a better life through education.

“Now I want to show it to children, to people around the world,” speaking of her blood stained school uniform which is now part of the Nobel Peace Prize exhibit, “This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school. This should not be neglected.”

On her 18th birthday, now known as Malala Day, she used it to highlight the plight of girls fleeing Syria for Lebanon where she opened the doors to another school for girls set up using money donated to the Malala Fund. There she called out leaders around the world to “invest in books instead of bullets.”

In every life, there come opportunities to stand up and speak out against the ills of society that are happening all around us. The thing that separates people like Malala from the rest of us is our willingness to sacrifice our own comforts for the sake of others.

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – Malala Yousafzai

Like those before her, Malala embodies the law of service and is an inspiration for good willed people of all ages to do more for their fellow man and woman. “Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don’t I take a step and move forward.” – Malala Yousafzai

Maya GraceFind Inspiration from Change Makers: Malala Yousafzai
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/09/malala-yousafzai-from-a-schoolgirl-to-a-nobel-peace-prize-winner/

Find Inspiration from Change Makers: Malala Yousafzai

“Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself… By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities.” – Malala Yousafzai

Our next two change makers for this month are women who through their selfless service have made an enormous impact on the lives of others and the world as a whole. One thing that they both have in common is that their parents’ influence shaped their lives in a positive direction and gave them the wisdom, knowledge, and the courage to fight for what’s right and to do good works.

Malala Yousafzai is one of those two who put those of us who come up with excuses for why we can’t make a difference to shame. Her activism began at the tender age of 11 and the threats to her life were real and would eventually prove to be near fatal. From that crisis Malala became stronger. Her fight went from local to global seemingly overnight, fighting for the right of women and girls around the world to be educated.

A Father unlike Most

In Pakistan as in many countries around the world, women are denied the right to an education. In Swat Valley where Malala Yousafzai was born and raised, it was no different. However, Malala had a father that was not like most others.

Ziauddin Yousafzai is a staunch advocate of the right of all to receive an education. In Pakistan where they are 2nd in the world in the number of children who do not attend school, Zaiuddin built a private school for girls adjacent to the family home. There Malala thrived and learned just like her brothers did.

When the Taliban took over the Swat Valley in 2008, they went on a rampage shutting down schools for girls. Instead of cowering in the face of these violent Islamic fundamentalists, Malala at only 11 years old traveled to Peshawar to denounce the Taliban’s efforts to deny girls the right to an education.

Her father encouraged her activism, proudly supporting her efforts to enable her and her classmates to continue in their schooling. In 2009 her father gave her the idea to spread her message even further by blogging about what was happening in the Swat Valley to young girls. She did.

Resilience in the Face of Fear

The BBC allowed Malala to post her blogs on BBC Urdu under an assumed name; Gul Makai. She spoke about the threats that the Taliban had issued to girls throughout Pakistan and how they had systematically begun closing down schools for girls in the region.

Eventually her cover was blown and her real name disclosed from other news organizations. That winter the Taliban targeted Yousafzai’s school demanding that her father shut it down. Malala continued to advocate for equal education for all women, even being nominated for the 2011 Children’s Peace Prize by Bishop Desmond Tutu.

As her fame began to spread the Taliban issued a death threat against the young 14 year old Malala in order to get her to stop her activism. It scared her and she worried about her family and her father in particular. None of them truly believed that they would kill a child. The Yousafzais like many families in the Swat Valley eventually left.

The Act that Shocked the World

After several years of advocating on behalf of girls, the world did not know who Malala was but everyone in Pakistan did including the Taliban. On an October day in 2012 when Malala was on a bus headed home after school, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head injuring two of her classmates as well.

Malala was in critical condition. She was immediately taken to the Peshawar military hospital and then sent to Birmingham, England for more intense treatment. When news of this horrific act spread, an outpouring from around the world condemned the act and support for her cause only amplified.

Malala survived the shooting and had to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage done to the nerves in her face which had been paralyzed. Fortunately there was no brain damage found and after several months in the hospital, Malala was released in January. Two months later she began high school in Birmingham, England where she and her family remain.

Empowering Women through Education

Named after a Pashtun heroine, Malala has more than lived up to the name which literally means “grief stricken.”  After such violence, how many of us would have given up? How many of us would have just accepted the new reality in Pakistan where women are subjugated permanently by denying them the right to an education?

Since her ordeal Malala has become a global celebrity giving speeches in front of the United Nations, the World Bank, and traveling around the world to support the cause of which she has said is “the cause to which I want to devote my life.”

Now only 18 years old, Malala has written an autobiography entitled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban while still living under the threat issued by the Taliban to this very day. Her foundation, the Malala Fund is funding her mission to build schools anywhere that girls and women are denied an education.

In 2013 Time Magazine named her one of the world’s most influential people. In 2014 she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. The list of acclimations goes on and on including:

  • In 2012 she was awarded the Pakistan National Peace Award, now named the National Malala Peace Prize.
  • In response to the attack, the Pakistani National Assembly ratified the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill just weeks after the shooting.
  • In 2013 she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.
  • This week a documentary about Malala’s life produced by the same famed director of An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman was released.

Even with all of that the struggle still continues. She is still a target of the Taliban in Pakistan who have continued to destroy girls’ schools throughout the country. By both bombings in the rural areas of Pakistan and poison attacks by neighboring Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the work continues and the threats have not ceased. Those claiming responsibility for the attack on Malala said, “Malala is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity.”

Malala Yousafzai and the Law of Service

Just like all truly great change makers, Malala does not seek fame and fortune. Instead of using her public profile to benefit herself, she has poured every dime into continuing to ensure that women and girls everywhere have a chance for a better life through education.

“Now I want to show it to children, to people around the world,” speaking of her blood stained school uniform which is now part of the Nobel Peace Prize exhibit, “This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school. This should not be neglected.”

On her 18th birthday, now known as Malala Day, she used the occasion to highlight the plight of girls fleeing Syria for Lebanon where she opened the doors to another school for girls set up using money donated to the Malala Fund. There she called out leaders around the world to “invest in books instead of bullets.”

In every life, there come opportunities to stand up and speak out against the ills of society that are happening all around us. The thing that separates people like Malala from the rest of us is our willingness to sacrifice our own comforts for the sake of others.

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – Malala Yousafzai

Like those before her, Malala embodies the law of service and is an inspiration for good willed people of all ages to do more for their fellow man and woman. “Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don’t I take a step and move forward.” – Malala Yousafzai

Maya GraceFind Inspiration from Change Makers: Malala Yousafzai
http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086#synopsis&gid=ci01ac7ce9daca860c&pid=king-serving-chicken-to-sons

Find Inspiration from Change Makers: Martin Luther King Jr.

“I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Continuing this month’s themes profiling change makers who embody the law of service, I want to take a look at the extraordinary service of Martin Luther King Jr. As with many of our heralded change makers, we have a tendency to turn them into monuments in our minds, yet these are real people who saw great success but also had to overcome many obstacles, failures, and trials to become who they are.

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those who have become immortalized in our minds as a great leader who literally changed the world through his service. When you are called to sacrifice your life, your peace, and your comfort to help all humanity, it is worth understanding the people behind the aura and finding inspiration from their journeys.

The End of Slavery

In order to understand Martin Luther King Jr.’s journey you must first understand a little bit about the system of slavery in the U.S. For centuries Black people in America were castigated to a system of brutal chattel slavery where they were dehumanized, treated like beasts of burden, and worked from sun up until sun down from the age of five until their deaths.

By the time the Civil War ended in 1865 there were more than 4 million Black people in the U.S. most of them in the south. Once slavery was officially outlawed a mass of people left the south and headed north to try their chances in the historically free states. Others remained in the south, many never leaving the plantations where they were once enslaved.

Throughout the south “Black Codes” were established that continued to limit the freedoms of Black people. For instance if a Black person was seen by a White person on the street and didn’t have papers on them proving that they had a job, they were arrested and forced back on the plantation as sharecroppers.

The Jim Crow Era

Sharecroppers were hired hands who worked the land for large plantation owners. After so many years of service, sharecroppers were deeded their own plot of land to work for themselves and became landowners. For centuries poor Whites made up the population of sharecroppers. In the post slavery years and for nearly a century afterward, newly freed slaves took their place.

However, because the former slaves had never owned property, were forbidden to learn to read or write under penalty of death, and had no place of their own, they were promised plots of land but never received it.

Instead of giving them their plot of land after every harvest, plantation owners would charge them for room and board, for the use of tools, and for seed until there were no credits leftover. They were even forced to live in the very same slave shacks that they were bound to during slavery.

Martin Luther King Jr.

In essence, the system of slavery never really ended. Black Codes began a new era of oppression known as the “Jim Crow” era throughout the south, or segregation. The Supreme Court ruling in 1896 institutionalized segregation arguing that “separate but equal” did not violate the equal protection clause under the 14th amendment to the Constitution.

It is in the midst of that system that Martin Luther King Jr. was born. His grandfather had worked for many years as a minister in rural Georgia post slavery. In 1893 he moved his family from the Georgia countryside to the city of Atlanta where he began serving as pastor of the now famed Ebenezer Baptist Church. His son-in-law, born Michael King followed in his footsteps as pastor of the same church.

He changed his name to Martin Luther King in honor of the Protestant leader from Germany, Martin Luther. His son also adopted the change becoming the man we know as Martin Luther King Jr. One thing that many people don’t know about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is that he was so smart that he skipped two grades and graduated from high school at the age of 15. He went on to study sociology at Morehouse College graduating in 1948.

He then attended seminary school in Pennsylvania and graduated valedictorian in 1951 before attending graduate school at Boston University. He earned his PhD at the age of 25. It was there that he met his wife, Coretta Scott. They married and moved to Montgomery, Alabama where he started his career as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

The Making of a Leader

As with most leaders, it is not a position that he sought. It was thrust upon him through fate and circumstance where the choice was up to him to accept the challenge or to shy away. But the man behind the legend that we think of today was a lot more complicated than the man from the iconic “I have a dream” speech.

He resisted following in his father’s footsteps for many years. He questioned the validity of religion. He drank. He hung out with the fellas playing pool. He chased the girls and they chased him. He even struck up a sexual relationship with a white woman while in Pennsylvania that almost ruined his life.

It was a passionate mentor who believed in racial equality and tied it to the teachings of Jesus who helped Martin Luther King Jr. to understand his duty to not only himself but for all Black people to use his gifts to help make change.

The opportunity arose in 1955 during the Montgomery bus boycott when Rosa Parks lit the spark that began the long decade of the Civil Rights Movement. The movement would lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and legal desegregation throughout the south.

A Dream Realized

Inspired by Gandhi and fervently believing as he said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight was fraught with danger and despair. He was constantly under the threat of death from hate groups. His home was bombed. He was personally assaulted four times, and even stabbed. He was arrested at least 20 times. Yet he also:

  • Earned Five Honorary Degrees
  • Was Named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1963
  • Kept Counsel with Two Sitting U.S. Presidents
  • Was the Youngest Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Has a National Holiday in His Honor
  • Is Part of the National Park Service’s National Historic Sites
  • And Was Recently Memorialized with a Statue on the National Mall

Before his assassination in 1968, he was threatened by Whites, ridiculed and rejected by young Blacks who were tired of the non-violent protests and the slow pace of change. In his last speech the night before his assassination, his words were prophetic:

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” — Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

His dream that one day “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,’” has largely been realized. Today the President of the United States is a Black man. He appointed the first Black Attorney General of the U.S.; the chief law enforcer for the entire country.

There is still work to be done. We still need leaders to help fully realize King’s dream. There is still injustice here in America and all around the globe. The work continues and wherever you are and whatever injustices you fight against, the strength, the courage to sacrifice for others despite the personal difficulty is the only way that great change is made.

Martin Luther King Jr. embodied the law of service. He answered the call no matter the risk to his own personal safety and we are all beneficiaries of his legacy. When fate turns to you to rise beyond your own self-imposed limitations to become a change maker what will you do? Would you be willing to lay down your life to help change the world for the better or would you shy away?

Maya GraceFind Inspiration from Change Makers: Martin Luther King Jr.
Image Credit: This tesla coil snuffed out the power in Colorado Springs when this photo was taken. Photo by Dickenson V. Alley, photographer at the Century Magazines via Wikimedia Commons. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-nikola-tesla/

Finding Inspiration from Change Makers: Nikola Tesla

“It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.” – Nikola Tesla

This month I want to do something a little bit different. Over the last few months we have been talking about making changes in our lives by understanding universal laws and learning all about consciousness. This month’s articles are meant to inspire you by learning from some of the world’s most famous change makers and the universal law of service.

While there are plenty of people to choose from, I wanted to focus on those whose service to humanity has made the world a better place. You will learn about their struggles, the obstacles they faced, and how they overcame to fulfill their true calling in life.

Nikola Tesla 

As a Serbian-American myself, I feel a sense of pride when it comes to Nikola Tesla who was also born in what is today Croatia and later immigrated to the U.S. Though most think of Thomas Edison as the great inventor of electricity, the batteries we use even the electrical grid that powers the nation are all a result of Tesla’s genius.

He was born in the mid 19th century in the middle of an electrical storm according to accounts from authors of Tesla biographies. His father was a priest and believe it or not, his mother was an amateur inventor. Both as a hobby and to make domestic life easier, she created her own small appliances.

Though his father expected him to follow him into the priesthood, Nikola early on knew he was not destined for the priesthood saying, “From my childhood I had been intended for the clergy. This prospect hung like a dark cloud on my mind.”

Instead he went on to study science at a technical institute in Austria and in Prague. After university he had a short stint working as a draftsman drawing up plans for engineers before he began working in Budapest at a phone company.

“By an irony of fate, my first employment was as a draughtsman. I hated drawing; it was for me the very worst of annoyances. Fortunately, it was not long before I secured the position I sought, that of chief electrician to the telephone company.” – Nikola Tesla

It was during his time in Budapest that his first invention for a motor began to take shape in his mind. However no one took an interest in it and so with just the clothes on his back, Nikola Tesla moved to the U.S. when he was 28 years old.

Success and Failure

Many don’t even try to follow their goals for fear of failure. The irony as I have learned is that without some level of failure success is nearly impossible. For Tesla with each success came one sort of failure or another.

Once he immigrated to America he was fortunate to have a referral from his bosses at the Budapest phone company to work under Thomas Edison who was fast becoming a celebrity for his electrical inventions. Edison accepted him and for a few years Tesla worked in Edison’s lab to improve on Edison’s inventions while working on his own ideas for alternating currents (AC).

Edison reportedly offered to pay Tesla $50K if he could make his direct current (DC) designs work better. It took Tesla less than a year to do so and when he asked Edison for the money Edison said to him, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.”

Obstacles and Sabotage

Telsa quit working with Edison after that and tried to start his own company. One historian compares his relationship with Edison to that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; both scientific geniuses but one with a head for business and the other the ideas guy. Tesla was the ideas guy and though he was able to get backing for several of his projects, he never managed to keep his businesses afloat.

At one point he was living high on the hog in the Waldorf Astoria. A few years later he was working as a ditch digger to make ends meet. Entrepreneur and industrialist George Westinghouse in 1888 gave Nikola the funds to continue working on his AC technology which fortunately or unfortunately made him a direct competitor with his former employer Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison tried to sabotage Tesla by spreading rumors that alternating currents were dangerous. He even went so far as to build the first electric chair using AC technology to prove how dangerous it was. Westinghouse continued to back Tesla but in a move pushed by his other investors, he convinced Tesla to give up his right to royalties from the patents that Westinghouse had funded, which he did.

Try and Try Again 

Together Westinghouse and Tesla made a splash when they powered the World Expo in Chicago in 1891 using all electric power. Tesla’s AC technology was used to harness the energy produced by Niagra Falls to power the entire city of Buffalo, NY in 1895 which gained him further notoriety.

Unfortunately by the turn of the 20th century Tesla’s obsessive mind would eventually signal the beginning of the end of his career. He had a vision for what we now know as wireless technology. He wanted to develop a global communication system where messages could be sent and received instantaneously. Wealthy industrialist J.P. Morgan backed the idea.

However with Morgan’s competitor Andrew Carnegie backing the more successful and famous Edison on similar radio technology, Tesla began to lose investors. By 1915 his lab was closed and he was bankrupt. His mental faculties began to fail him. He became reclusive, obsessively hygienic, and spent most days talking to the pigeons on the streets of New York. He died in 1943 in his hotel room penniless.

Nikola and the Law of Service 

While Nikola Tesla was motivated by his passion, his ideas were meant to make life easier for all humanity. By powering the world in a way that Edison never even achieved he may have died penniless but his service to the rest of us is without question.

His life may not have ended with pomp and circumstance but when you pursue your passion in life, money and wealth is never the ultimate goal. Just look at all of the things that his ideas spawned that are the foundation for many of our modern technologies:

  • AC power is the standard worldwide for power distribution.
  • The Tesla Coil remains the basis for modern radio and wireless technology.
  • He came up with the idea for modern day batteries.
  • He helped to develop radar and x-ray technology. 

Nikola Tesla saw success. He saw failure. He was on top of the world and then shut out from the world. But think about this; what would life today be like if he hadn’t even tried for fear of failure? Are you depriving us all of your service for fear of failure?

 

Maya GraceFinding Inspiration from Change Makers: Nikola Tesla
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Transform Yourself and Your Life through the Law of Evolution

Wrapping up this month’s blog posts we will focus on the universal law of evolution. It is poignant considering that this law states that “Nothing can evolve without transformation.” Since the very purpose of this blog is transformation, there is no more apt law to examine.

We have been talking for over a year about making changes in our lives. From pursuing our passions to making a plan for achieving certain goals, these transformations are all part of the universal law of evolution.

Here I will show you how to understand how this law operates and how to incorporate it into your life changes.

Understanding the Law of Evolution

The law of evolution is unlike all of the other universal laws. As you have learned in earlier posts when you live outside of the universal law of harmony, nature, or law of creation you invite trouble.

In order to increase your awareness you must actually step outside of the law of evolution. In order to live by its governing principles you must break free of the bounds set up by our everyday existence.

Just like when living within the law of nature you have to reign in your ego, the law of evolution compels you to ascend your physical desires and limitations to achieve greater consciousness. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Caveman Evolution

Picture the image of a caveman courting a woman by clubbing her over the head in order to make her his wife. That is no longer socially acceptable. Male and female relations have changed or evolved to where that is the best way to lose a woman!

  • Adulthood Evolution

Picture a child throwing a tantrum in the grocery store. Now replace that child with the picture of an adult. It does not fit. It is assumed that once you reach adulthood your behaviors change or evolve to reflect your growth in knowledge, maturity, and wisdom.

  • Butterfly Evolution

Picture a larva bound up by a cocoon. Now picture the butterfly bursting out of that cocoon in all of its colorful splendor. It has evolved or changed from a worm-like creature into a beautiful manifestation of the time it spent inside of the cocoon.

See how many different ways in which the law of evolution affects even small creatures? In order to access this portion of your inner being you must allow for evolution to occur. Perhaps you are changing your lifestyle.

If you have been a devout bachelor believing that you do not need or want a family all of your life, the law of evolution demands that you let go of that old way of thinking. It is about breaking shackles and allowing yourself to grow.

Consciousness-Raising through Universal Law

Your mind is a universe in and of itself. When you close your eyes, there is blackness but with your mind you can fill up that space with anything that you can imagine. Think about it. We only use 10% of our brains. What is going on with that other 90%?

It is a mystery that seems locked away from us. However, when you understand consciousness and use universal laws to grow your consciousness, you can unlock different aspects of that mystery and bring more joy into your life.

 

Maya GraceTransform Yourself and Your Life through the Law of Evolution