Monday, January 19, 2015

Your World


LAW 1:


All human beings possess equal existential value.


Any conversation about Self-Action Leadership must begin with a categorical accession of the absolute existential equality of all human beings. This equality is fundamental, self-evident, and perennially vital. The holism of this inclusivity extends to both sexes and individuals of all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, ideologies, lifestyles, etc.

LAW 2:


All human beings are self-leaders, each possessing sovereign leadership of his or her individual, metaphorical world.

You are a self-leader. Whether you know it or not, like it or not, or want it or not, you already ARE. Whether you are effective at leading yourself or not is another story, but if you are a human being, you do lead your “self.”

Your world is made up of a unique combination of internal and external variables that involve your spirit, body, mind, heart, sociality, and sexuality. Throughout the vast universe, there is no other world exactly like yours. You are, therefore, a unique being with a singular existence and limitless worth. As the ruling sovereign of your world, you ultimately call the shots that determine your destiny.

LAW 3:


Right and Wrong thoughts, speech, and actions exist as real forces and absolute opposites.

Corollary 3.1: Right choices consist of thoughts, speech, and actions that lead to the long-term health, happiness, and Existential Growth of all animate beings impacted thereby.

Corollary 3.2: Wrong choices consist of thoughts, speech, and actions that lead to the long-term sickness, misery, and Existential Atrophy of all animate beings impacted thereby.

Corollary 3.3: Self-leaders who seek to think, say, and do what is right, and who avoid thinking, saying, and doing what is wrong, become self-action leaders by virtue of their intent.

Everyone is a self-leader; but not everyone is a self-action leader. To qualify for the latter title, you must be willing to lead yourself to think, say, and do what is right.

INFLUENCE VS. CONTROL


A key component of SAL theory involves recognizing what you can and cannot control. Most of what exists in life, the world, and the universe, you cannot control. For example, you can’t control other people. You also can’t control the weather, macroeconomics, geopolitics, scientific verities, natural laws, and most other things.

The only thing you can control is yourself. Your influence over others will therefore always be rooted in what you do to manage and lead yourself. Hence, your focus should always primarily target self-change.

Influence differs from control in the same way that leadership differs from self-leadership. As a self-leader you may be able to influence other people, but you can only control yourself. This difference between control and influence is a primary reason I am passionate about Self-Action Leadership—it involves something I actually can control. In consideration of all the things in the universe I can’t control, I think it’s pretty exciting that I can at least control myself.
Change Yourself

Try not, my friend, to change what’s life,
For life cannot be changed,
And trying only brings you strife,
And leaves your mind deranged.

Instead, work hard to change yourself,
And as you do you’ll find,
Growth, happiness, and wond’rous wealth,
Including peace of mind.

And neither try to change another,
That e’er ends up a mess;
Try instead to serve your brother,
With examples of goodness.

The only things you can truly control are your own thoughts, words, and actions. That’s it. Everything else in the Universe you can only accept as is, or attempt to influence. I have intentionally ordered these three elements of control – thoughts, speech, and actions – because your thoughts are the seeds of every word and action. Thoughts, therefore, become the primary catalysts of everything you ever say, do, and eventually become. One of your greatest concerns as a self-action leader, therefore, must be to carefully guard your thoughts.

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
– James Allen


“Sow a thought, reap an action; Sow an action, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
– William James 


“When you rule your mind, you rule your world.”
– Imelda Shanklin 


YOU ARE SOVEREIGN


While your overall power and influence might seem small, remember that you are the King/Queen, President, Prime Minister, General, Executive Director, Admiral, Captain, etc. (pick your own title) of your own world. Within the realms of this personal title and power lies enormous power to design your world and choose your destiny. In the words of the poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903):

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul. ...
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.” [1]

Regardless of your circumstances, you remain sovereign over your thoughts, speech, and actions. This means that while you cannot always control what happens to you, you can control how you respond to what happens to you. The determination of your destiny therefore lies in your life choices as well as to your responses to life events.

There are many famous examples of people who chose to abdicate their self-sovereignty. For example, consider the excuse of President John F. Kennedy, who, when queried as to why he did not demonstrate more self-control and discretion with regards to his adulterous philandering, replied: "I just can’t help it." With all due respect to JFK—and he is worthy of respect in many regards—this is a classic historical example of an incredibly intelligent and talented man who chose to abdicate his self-sovereignty in regards to sexual restraint. In truth, JFK could have helped himself. He could have gotten help from others, and he could have sought help from his faith, but he chose instead to willingly relinquish his scepter of self-control in the matter.

However you wish to spin it, JFK ultimately chose promiscuity over conjugal fidelity. With this said, I am not suggesting the latter path was easy for JFK, or anyone else in a similar situation. In President Kennedy’s defense, temptations are often greater, more varied, and certainly more accessible to those who occupy high-profile positions than to those who don’t. 

Furthermore, I doubt there has ever been a straight, married man in the history of the world who never had a lustful thought towards a beautiful woman who was not his wife. Such is human nature. But these are excuses, and this book is not into making excuses; it is into providing real solutions to real problems we face as human beings. The message of this book is that all men and women possess sufficient power to transcend our baser natures, inclinations, whims—and yes, even temptations—if we desire it, and are willing to accept help and embrace the healing powers of Serendipity. JFK did not lack the ability to be faithful to his wife; he lacked the desire and the will to do so.

Of course, no one is perfect, but an imperfection doesn’t make you powerless to choose. It also doesn’t make you powerless to seek help with whatever human weaknesses and foibles you may struggle with. We all have shortcomings. I have enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and I’m sure you do too. We all mess up—sometimes spectacularly. But there is a big difference between messing up, admitting it, and working diligently to improve, and completely abdicating personal responsibility. Too often, people confuse I won’t, or I don’t want to, with I can’t. While doing so is convenient, it is ultimately a fiction—and the ultimate self-deception. I don’t begrudge JFK his weakness; I am simply disappointed he chose to give up his freedom in the matter.

I would bet that every fully functioning person in the world has at least one natural inclination he wished he didn’t have, or that she would ideally like to rid herself of. I know I do. I also know, however, from many personal experiences, and from observing the experiences of others, that intentional human beings can overcome personal weaknesses—even to the extent of triggering a fundamental change in our very natures—if we desire change badly enough. Those who promote otherwise are either misinformed, na├»ve, dishonest, or are making money by vacuuming you up into a vat of victimhood.

The message of SAL is that I can change; you can change; we all can change! We can control ourselves, and we can choose who and what we will ultimately become. Whether you and I successfully claim this sovereignty is up to us, as individuals, to decide.


You Choose

Anyone who’ll work and wait
Ensures good fate.

Anyone who’ll never quit
Avoids the pit.

Anyone who keeps one’s soul,
By never casting off one’s goal,
Sets up a plea
For destiny
That’s touched
By Serendipity,
Will You?
Will Me?
I guess we’ll see . . .
But this I know,
Though vague it be,
That all of us
Are Free
To be
The kind of men,
Or women
We most would like to be.

And in the end,
Deep down
Everyone knows,
That blame for failure
Ultimately goes,
To each and every
Single Soul,
Whose free to choose
To Win,
To Lose,
No matter how the battles rage.
Come wind, come storm, come ice and hail,
We’ll always get our due earned wage,

Will you prevail?
Fly high and free?
Beyond the grasp of gravity?
The choice is YOURS
To win,
Or lose—
YOU Choose.

SAL Mantra 


I Am Sovereign 



Come what may, at the end of the day, you are sovereign over your life, and I am sovereign over mine. I challenge you to memorize the poem below as a reminder of the enormous personal power you possess over your own life and the remarkable potential you have to make a positive difference in the lives of others. May retaining its words in the recesses of your mind and memory inspire you to make the most of your existence.

I Am Sovereign

I Am Sovereign!

Today I affirm that
I am the captain of my own life.

I acknowledge that as such,
I am fully responsible for
My attitude,
My decisions,
My life’s results, and thus—
My life’s long-term
Direction.

No one can take this power away from me,
Though if I choose, I can give it away to,
Someone, or something else.

This I will never do,
For there is but one me in all history,
And my one shot at life,
I will not waste.

In the past, I have blamed,
Named,
Gamed,
And shamed.

No more!

For now I know that I cannot control anyone
But myself.
Yet in that control,
I can defy Existential Gravity,
Create my world,
Design my destiny, and
Conquer the enemy within.

And with the aid of Serendipity,
I will eventually accomplish
All of these things,
Because

I Am Sovereign!

Something, or someone, is always in control of your life. If that someone or something is not you, then you are headed for a destination that is not of your choosing, the consequences of which will be predictably grim. I challenge you to claim, or reclaim—and then rightfully exercise—the self-sovereignty that Life has endowed you with, and then use that power wisely to pursue higher purposes. This will enable you to realize your full potential, and help many others do likewise.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life if your own. No apologies or excuses.”
– Dan Zadra


Next Blog Post ~ Friday, January 23, 2015 ~ BOOK the SECOND, Chapter 5: Freedom & Consequences


[1] Reprinted from Henley, W.E. Poems (1919). New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Page 119.
63-64.

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