The Dalai Lama has 17 rules for living. One of them is that a person should travel to someplace they have never been before at least once per year. The more I pondered this; I felt that this was a bit limiting. I am fairly sure that he was focusing on the traditional view of this thought; traveling and experiencing a location that you have never been before. But, there is a more philosophical approach to this “rule.”
Look at this creek. It could be near your house, on your way to work, or off a mountain trail. You may see it every day. Is it the same? It changes moment to moment. Even how you look at it changes. Today it may be peaceful. During a storm, it may become deadly. One day gray, and blue the next. You can be standing at the exact same physical location, yet you have never exactly been there before. You have changed, and the place has changed. The key is being aware and recognizing the changes.
As a leader, a person must continue to grow. A leader must be able to see the changes around them, and interpret how those changes impact the situation. The creek may be calm and serene one day, and present hidden dangers the next. It is changing its environment, and as a result impacts the plants, animals, and people around it. Similarly, our daily actions can have the same impact.
Your mood, your reactions, your comments, and your actions, whether you are aware of them or not affect those around you. A smile can improve a person’s day, and you may never know. A laugh or a kind word with the cashier as you go through the lunch line may become contagious, and those that follow may see the afternoon in a positive light rather than a negative one. Snap at the toll agent as you go through the tollgate, and you may impact dozens of individuals later that day.
We are part of the whole. We don’t see ourselves as having an impact unless we do something “big.” Sometimes it is recognizing how the small things influence our growth and those around us. We tend to go from one project to the next, or one event to the next, and fail to see the wonder and life around us. We miss living while waiting to live.