Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Our History Dictates Our Destiny?

Lately I've been thinking about how our achievements in life are shaped and moulded by our history and experiences, with some of the strongest stimuli for success or failure being in our childhood years. I know this can be an over-simplification but listening to life stories, I find it very interesting how often there are clear trends. First the negative impact ...

Interviews with many porn stars and ex-porn stars show a clear relationship between childhood abuse, neglect, violence and family break-up and the tendency to enter the sex-industry, ultimately leading to appearance in porn films ('porn star' status). The heart-breaking truth behind these people is that their self-esteem and self-value has been shattered at a very early age, their level of expectation is low, and even more worrying, they are left feeling that they have no intrinsic value. So, they sell their bodies, lock down the emotions and tell the world how glamorous it is, whilst dying inside. If you want to read some stories of people who has managed to escape the industry try this link ...

Secondly the positive impact ...

Many successful business people (and in broader life) can recount times in their childhood when they were actively encouraged by their parents or mentors to 'reach for the skies' and give it a go. Great musicians frequently cite back to the encouragement they received from their family when those around them (siblings, teachers etc) were being negative about their prospects in life. Tony Campolo, an American sociologist recounts how every morning he was sent packing to school. His neighbour, a boy of similar age to himself, was always sent out with the words 'Go and conquer the world'.

Okay so this may sound rather cliched but the truth is that our expectations will often drive what we do and what we achieve. And those expectations, in most cases, are nurtured and inspired by others who believe in us, see our potential and encourage us to use it.

Sure there are also people who have an amazing strength of will and who, despite being repeatedly put down, are determined to achieve. This is frequently a response to escape from their surroundings to a 'better life'. But somewhere desperation, self-belief or a combination of the two drive success.

So what am I saying?

I guess it's that each and every one of us has a responsibility to encourage others to achieve their potential, whenever and wherever we can. Put down the fears that we will be overtaken, or someone else will get our job. We all have the potential to be a mentor and the fruits can be huge, both personally and financially.

Equally, we have the potential to block others, prevent them from discovering their dreams and stop them achieving these.

Sure, we may stay on top of the pile but at what cost to us personally?

What if we encouraged someone to reach for the skies and they just happen to achieve this goal ... and take us with them.

It's a risk we take. But until we try we'll never find out.

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