Whether We Want it or Not

A friend sent me a text recently that changed my topic for this week. He said (and forgive me if this quote belongs to someone else, which I imagine it does) “that life is a constant state of radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiation. We influence others whether we know it or not.” Now you all know I’m not the esoteric pop psychology type, so for me to repost this I must have found some truth to it. Let’s explore together. There are so many things in our life that we do not have control over; the weather, other people, nature, etc. But there is SO much that we do control, or at minimum influence, whether we know it or not. This quote rings true because I have seen the attitude altering effect of saying hello to a passerby. I have seen me and one of my business partners “level-up” despite us being dog tired, just by willing ourselves to. I have seen me finish my PhD despite never being told I should or could.

I teach student leaders oftentimes about legacy, and how it to is either transmitted to, or received by, those who follow you. In that definition too is the realization that one way or the other your legacy will be left. Isn’t it worth taking time to think about what that will be, and how it will look? How dare we handle with such carelessness things like our legacy, reputation, time, energy, and general self-image. Strolling into class late, blowing off meetings, giving it up for whoever and whenever (somebody say PREACH!), and letting your integrity come into question. These are all things that are precious jewels, that in the wrong hands leave you looking like someone you don’t even recognize. I hope I don’t sound pious or condescending. Those of you who know me, and whom I trust, know that I can get as “buck” and have as much fun as the next person, but I control who sees that. I influence the narrative, because its just that important.

Since we are always in a state of doing or not doing by our actions or inaction, I try to be very intentional with my time. Need another example or catchy saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Let me be clear, you are always making choices even when you don’t make one. So when you don’t defend that person in your class from blatant or covert racism or homophobia, you are making a clear statement through your inaction. When you are lazy and disengaged in class, you send a clear message to your classmates and professor. I make sure that each and every day I “show up” my best self so that the energy I radiate, either intentionally or by accident, lifts people up rather than tears them down, and leaves the best possible impression of me. I want to be remembered as someone who made life better, more enjoyable. If I took a Geiger counter and turned it towards you, what would it read?

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