Malala was shot in the face for standing up for her beliefs. Her persistence and bravery forced the world to listen. She became the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner in history.
Her inspirations: Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years and then saved a country.
Mandela and King’s biggest inspiration? Gandhi.
Gandhi created a country by sitting and starving.
The alpha person does not need to shout and fight. The alpha person knows the secrets of radiating power with no movement at all.
Gandhi’s influence? Leo Tolstoy.
Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is one of the best selling books of all time with over 40 million copies sold.
Personalizing the horror of war, the epics of country and family, and showing the imprints these high-stakes events have on individuals is the universal theme Tolstoy ties into.
We all suffer. But we must all transform that suffering into the art and energy which drives us to change.
Tolstoy’s biggest influences? Later in life he lists Buddha, Lao Tzu and Stoic philosopher (and slave) Epictetus, as his “enormous” influences.
People think Buddhism and Taoism are religions. They aren’t. Buddha and Lao Tzu never mention a God.
- Suffering will always happen.
- Suffering will cause you to react
- You can remove yourself from the suffering by noticing your reaction instead of being a slave to it. Too often we are slaves to fear instead of masters of growth.
- Noticing your reactions to suffering, anger, pain is the key to well-being.
For instance, when someone yells at me, I often can’t help myself: I get angry. I want to yell. I want to fight.
If a boss is cruel, I feel bad and afraid and angry. If a friend insults me, I get defensive and afraid. If I lose money, I panic.
It’s important for me to notice: “Something inside of me wants to react”.
I’m not always good at this. Sometimes I react too fast. Before I notice. Before I take a step back. Before I am calm.
I have to give myself permission to not be as good as I can be. I have to practice. Practice, for me, creates greater calm and then maybe happiness.
All of this is to say – follow the rabbit hole down your influences. Every song you like, every movie, every book, every leader, every philosopher.
The seeds of change were planted a long time ago. Centuries ago. Follow the path.
Read them. Study who they read. Wonder about their ideas. Wonder about their history.
Every day I try to jump down that rabbit hole. I find something I love. I dive in. Where did that love find its roots?
It’s fun. You’ll learn. Life will get better no matter how bad it seems now.
It will always be better when you explore the rest of the iceberg you are just sitting on the top of.
People say, “what do you wish you knew as a kid?”
The trite answer: “Nothing.” Else I would not have experienced all the misery and depression that brought me to this moment.
The real answer?
This, where I fell in love with something – a person, a quote, an action, a work of art. And I jumped down the rabbit hole.
This that I wrote above. This where I started, “Malala was shot in the face…”