I remember hearing a wonderful story from Earl Nightingale. It was about a man and he was watching a sporting event with his young son. The man’s son was so full of energy that he was interrupting his father’s opportunity to watch the game in peace. In an attempt to keep his son peacefully occupied he took a page from a magazine that had a picture of the world globe on it, he tore the picture up into lots of small pieces and gave his son some adhesive tape to put the picture back together again. The father went back to watching the game. Within a short period of time the child brought back a completed picture of the globe. The image was remarkably well put together for a child of that age. The father then said to his son, ‘how did you manage to put that world together so quickly?’ Without pausing to think his son replied, ‘there was a picture of a man on the other side. I put the man together and then the world came together.’ The father was moved by this and gave his son a huge hug and said, ‘yes, that’s right. When the man is together then his world is together.’
This story made such a powerful impact on me when I first heard it. On the surface it may appear like a frivolous tale of a father and son bonding session, and yet when the deeper meaning is understood that can be enough to liberate a person from a prison fashioned from perceptions of self-loathing and inferiority.
It is a common occurrence for many to believe that for their world to improve that it can only be accomplished from an outside source. This perspective is in accordance with the principle of correspondence. This principle says that a person’s outer world is a direct reflection of their inner world.
Although it may be successfully argued that a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions cannot be separated from the world, the idea that a person has to wait until the world comes together before they can ‘put themselves together’ is a concept that reveals a wretched way of thinking.
There is something that these people have yet to learn. This can be surmised by a quote from Sir Thomas Browne, ‘We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.’
Another profound and vital point that sheds light on this subject can be found from either the actual or Platonic figure of Socrates who said, ‘Let him that would move the world first move himself.’
This is an approach that many will find extremely difficult, as they understand their existence in relation to things ‘out there’ in the world. It is a challenge for many people to experience a genuine sense of self, because they experience their own existence through the opinions, judgments, theories, and belief systems of others.
As a consequence a number of these people experience a sense of helplessness that is manifested by their feeling of disorientation from their own self-identity.
These types of personalities will falsely believe that the problems that exist in the world are the result of solely external factors such as: horoscopes, government, the weather, immigration, interest rates, recessions, being too old, wars, conflict, being too young, their race, their religion, their past, new technology, the behavior of the masses, their gender, and the list goes on…
A secret that only a small amount of people will ever understand is that, it is not the events our lives that matter. It is how we perceive them. Our perception creates the meaning.
To illustrate, I’ll say this.
To some Nelson Mandela is a icon, to others he is a villain, the same can be said for Gandhi, Jefferson, Lincoln, Rhodes, Drake, Saladin, Columbus, Cortez, Louverture, Tubman, Napoleon, Nzinga, Churchill, and the like.
So what would the one correct position for each of those figures? The answer would change depending on how you perceived them, and how you perceive yourself. This way of seeing and understanding yourself would be a result of your own personal values.
The subject becomes even more complex at this stage, because it is certainly possible for an individual to deceive himself or herself by distorting their perceptions to suit their values. The interesting thing is that this can work both for and against an individual.
John Milton sums this point up by stating that, ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’
The ability to transform your world lies within your power, and at the same time it is something that eludes many people. These people feel powerless and use their latent power to wait for others to liberate them. Unfortunately the process of liberation must come from the individual, although the information can be gained from others who have experience of doing so.
An authentic way to take control of your world is to start with yourself and by understanding your values you will manifest this.
The philosopher Sun Tzu said, ‘If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.’
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