Kindness, Growth and the Neighbourhood

I have been invited by Don Bosco Publication, which reaches out to families and communities globally, to share my thoughts on the theme ‘Love your neighbour’. My previous post for the publication was focussed on the topic of due respect for other half of society – girls and women, and in this one I will share a small thought on how we can build a better environment and society by acting in a manner which adds to your purpose of being.

In the pursuit of all that we set out to achieve, amongst the things one should consider is to ensure we don’t forget the consequences and impact of our thoughts, words and actions on not just our own path and destiny, but also on the paths of others we meet on our way.

I have the honor and good fortune of working with some top notch leaders, and I have consistently observed that some of the truly successful individuals keep a gentle persona in public, whilst bearing a larger-than-life toughness and competitiveness within them – this usually comes out in meetings/ board rooms where we roll up our sleeves and get working on the challenges at hand. Amongst the exceptions where the outside persona matches the inside persona most times is when interacting with world class sportspersons where you can see their energy and self-talk in action right then and there.

Case in point : My friend Shikha Uberoi Bajpai, who is a Former #1 Indian Tennis Player and among the top 10 fastest servers in the world, is also a serial entrepreneur and currently the Co-Founder, India. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Shikha a few years back, and one could always see the kind of energy, self-talk and positivity that she radiated. It serves well to remember that whilst most of us are born with incredible talent and gifts, it does take a whole lot of nurturing to preserve what’s inside, and keep moving towards who we are meant to be.

Shared below is a video of Shikha’s friend Venus Williams (then 14 years old) giving a TV interview, and how Venus’ dad steps up to protect Venus’ self talk and confidence. (Shikha also played against Venus Williams in the US Open ’04).

To an outsider, it might come across as hardly a few seconds of someone delving deeper to understand the confidence and self-belief that Venus Williams displays as a 14 year old, but it’s truly inspirational to see Venus’ dad step up to ensure there are just no chinks in the (self-belief) armour of his daughters who go on to earn their place as World Class Champions in the years to follow, after this interview.

Our thoughts, words and actions have an ability to impact lives way beyond what most of us realize. It’s a harsh truth that most individuals abandon their latent talents and gifts, and who they are meant to be – many a times because words/ beliefs that do not hold true for them somehow make it into the core of their being. Someone might have told them that they are not meant to achieve something, make them doubt themselves, or worse still, make fun of and mock them with ill intent.

As humans, we can currently expect to live anywhere between 50-70-90 years with some good luck, before moving on from our time here on Earth. This is all the time we get, and this is all the time we have to offer ourselves and others. Let us be mindful of, and use whatever little time we have, such that even if we don’t add to anyone’s well being, may we never (at least intentionally) be the reason for diminishing anyone’s inner light in any manner whatsoever.

Lastly, I would like to share the following thought from the incredible Fred Rogers:

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”

Maybe, just maybe, that’s what the term ‘Love your neighbour’ really means.

Mr Fred Rogers | Picture Credit : Kathi Waters, Pinterest
Mr Fred Rogers | Picture Credit : Kathi Waters, Pinterest