I post a lot of stuff in my digital spaces. Over the years, they have picked up a considerable amount of following, and the engagements are very high. My daughter boss, Rachel takes pride in this and reminds me that the growth has been organic; we have never “boosted” it. This gives me a sense of fulfillment, knowing that more people find them useful each day.
I get private messages from people about how at the precise moment or a particular situation in their lives, the words helped them. You cannot imagine the sense of fulfillment and joy I have in knowing that what I do matters.
As I scan through their “reply,” there will always be this particular person who is unbelievably negative and pessimistic in his perspective. When I post something like the need to control one’s emotions or the need to practice integrity, this pessimist would accuse me of being “judgy” or judgmental and insists that I am “unfair” to people who have been victims of corruption, manipulation, and deceit. I let him be. He is entitled to his own opinion.
Early in life, I learned from the legendary Zig Ziglar that unless we own our situation in life and stop thinking like a victim, there is no hope for achievement or success. He coined the word: “Stinking-thinking.” I do not discount the fact that many have been victims of injustice. We do not even have to go far. Just think about the number of honest and hardworking people whose achievements were not recognized or, worst, credit was stolen by their managers that caused them to miss the promotions due them? What about those who have honestly provided service or have delivered their goods in good order, and then clients refuse to pay them on time or pay them correctly? While some people raise up their hands and surrender and say, “This is part of the system and my being a victim is part of it,” others would refuse and do something better.
Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, and Nelson Mandela were all victims of injustice. They were victimized, but they emerged victoriously. They witnessed something in their world they didn’t like and decided to do something about it. They did not live their life playing the blame-game instead they exhibit excellent leadership skills and made a difference.
The problem with thinking like a victim is that in a perverted sense, they may like the attention of being perceived as a victim. They would instead behave like a victim rather than owning the situation and doing something about it.
I am not advocating that one should always sit at the back of the bus. Neither am I suggesting that you should get shot in the face or stay in prison for 27 years.
Because for every Parks, Yousafzai, and Mandela, there are thousands of unknown, unsung heroes who are choosing the path of changing themselves and their environment and making a difference in their world. No matter how small it may seem in the grand scheme of things.
You and I do not have to take on the most pressing sociopolitical issues on a global scale to be extraordinary. We can be walking on a beach and stumble upon an empty soda can we didn’t throw. We can pick it up, go a little bit out of our way, and put it inside the trash can. There will be no material rewards there, but deep inside us is the satisfaction of knowing that we have made a difference.
We could also pull out our phone, take a photo, tweet about it and criticize the losers out there who are destroying our environment and accuse the local government officials of being corrupt or sleeping on the job and then feel “victimized” by all these injustices. Ranting and raving in social media are easy, but taking appropriate actions, owning the situation, and improving things are how one can make a difference.
Stinking thinking stinks. One can never have a positive life with a negative mind. Somebody says criticism is the disapproval of people whose faults are different from your own. We all have flaws, but mature and responsible people take positive action and change things for the better. This is why they no longer have the time to play the victim’s role or blame others. They are just too busy making things right.
(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch,’ the classical music station.)