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POINT TO PONDER
"We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.”
In a previous Friday Reflection we shared a video that illustrated how the internet and social media can isolate us from one another.
This week we wanted to share this video, one that reminds us how the power of the internet can also brings us closer than ever before. I was moved while watching this short, produced by Google, and it reminded me of the power of the internet to connect.
After all, Friday Reflections has been given us a place to share our stories with you. Last month, thanks to all our fantastic readers, we crossed the 500,000 viewer mark from 153 countries. Without the internet that would have never been possible.
We wanted to ask you to share some of your stories. How has the internet connected you to a friend old or new?
POINT TO PONDER
"It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."
- Bill Gates
STORY LINE by Rajiv Shah
I stood at the wall, an arrow in the soft spot in my neck right above the collar bone. The other end of the weapon was wedged up against the wall and my hands were shaking I struggled to keep it in place. My glance turned sideways, at the woman next to me, in the same position - arrow resting in the little valley of her neck. But somehow, she seemed calm and blinked twice as our instructor gave us our exercise. In theory, it seemed simple enough.
"Trust that nothing bad will happen to you. This is an exercise about trust and many others before have done it and you will too. All you need to focus on is on the other side of the arrow, at the wall. Put your greatest want, your greatest desire in that wall and walk purposefully toward it. Trust that the arrow will break. The more you hesitate, the more you doubt, the more pain you will feel and the arrow will be the winner."
And to make his point the instructor took his arrow, placed it against his neck and walked towards the wall without a second thought. SNAP! Shards of wood sprayed across the conference room and over fifty onlookers broke into a sharp applause. The instructor put his hands into the air - it was our turn.
Around the room I watched as others put their arrows to their throats and stepped towards them swiftly. Arrows were shattering all around me - the reaffirming snaps a cacophony of success and conquered projectiles.
One man nearby struggled. He stepped in and to the side unable to go directly into the weapon. The instructor moved toward him.
"Go straight into it. Don't hesitate," the instructor bellowed.
The man took a deep breath and closed his eyes. When he opened them he took a forceful step in. The arrow arced, quivered, and finally gave into the man and shattered. An exhausted smile crept across the man's face, the blood suddenly drained from him. But he was victorious and people around hugged him.
Now, it was my turn... My hands were shaking and as I went to place it against the wall, I dropped my arrow. I picked it back up and placed it into the groove of my neck. Suddenly I wished I hadn't volunteered for this. But other people were doing it around me and not one had been impaled yet (the arrows also didn't have arrowheads attached to the ends of them).
I stepped in --
And gagged. The arrow dropped and my eyes filled with tears. All of a sudden people were watching me. I picked up the arrow again and placed it back against my throat. I stepped in and the arrow didn't budge. I stepped away as the onlookers rushed to my aide, shouting instructions, patting my shoulder, and cheering me on. One girl called me a not very nice name. The crowd was gathering and I felt the pressure to deliver. The man that had just had trouble with his arrow sent a nod of encouragement. The instructor made his way over and patted me on the back.
"Just put your deepest desire into the wall and go get it."
I put the image of my family into my mind and I tried again. People cheered. The arrow started to give and bent upwards towards the ceiling as the room and the image of my family suddenly went silent and faded away around me.
I had slipped into darker recesses of my mind.
I thought of the arrow breaking my flesh and emerging triumphantly on the other side. Then I thought of my childhood. Of tests not passed. Of criticism I thought were long gone. I thought of years when I wandered the school trying to find a place where I wouldn't be picked on or teased, settling on a corner in the back of the school near the football field tucked away under the bleachers. I thought of the times I was never good enough to place in AP classes, make the honor roll, or get a date to the prom. I thought that maybe, I wasn't good enough after all...
The sinew in my neck strained and then finally, I gave in. The arrow dropped to the floor - the wood still intact and glistening in its crimson paint - proof that it was in fact stronger than me. The crowd groaned and I stood there alone as everyone filed out, the only one not to have broken my arrow.
This is a true story. It happened to me at a motivational retreat held in the Loma Mar woods. I was asked to give a speech there about finding passion and pursuing it. Ultimately, I felt like a hypocrite when I couldn't break my arrow.
After, a sense of shame accompanied me as I walked back to my room, arrow still in hand. Another attendee came up to me and complimented my speech. Then looking down at the arrow he asked me why I was still carrying it around. He said that if he experienced what I did, having the arrow would eat away at him and remind him of his failure.
I told him I was keeping it and his eyes went wide with disbelief. I explained that I was going to bring it home and that I might even mount it on my wall. He thought it was a bit sadistic. I stated that we all have experienced success and failure at some point in our lives. We tend to like to hang on to our victories and forget the losses but for me it was different.
My failure was a reminder to continue improving myself. It was a call to get up again and work on the darkest parts of myself. It was a call to action. To hope. To not give up and not give in. That arrow was a living symbol of the demons that live within me. And ultimately, it's up to me to deal with and rise above them.
It takes work. It takes patience. And I know that it will happen in good time.
For now I have the arrow on my wall. Every time I look at it, it motivates me to keep working and growing. I know in my heart that one day, when the time is right, I'll take it off my wall and place that arrow into the softest part of my neck. I'll take a moment to exhale out all my fears. Then I'll take a sure step towards it and snap that thing in two.
POINT TO PONDER
"A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall." So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey which catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the highroad to his reason.
- Abraham Lincoln
What motivates someone more - encouragement or criticism?
I once heard someone say they prefered to be feared than loved because when people fear you, they respect you. I find this to be misinformed. When I look at prominent leaders it seems that tyrants have their time but eventually fall. They may rule with fear but inevitably there is a breaking point when people fight back.
People are moved by both love and fear. Both incite people to act. But the lasting emotion, the one we all move towards is not fear (which we react to but do not seek), it's love. It's the promise for something better - hope and freedom. Paradoxically those same desires are a product of fear as well. The difference is that hope will replenish love while it will eventually move people to destroy fear.
What do you think motivates your colleagues and loved ones more? And what is it that motivates you?
*Quote from Dale Carnegie