Resilience through Beauty

Each year, on November 11, we are given the opportunity to pause and remember those who gave their lives in various wars to protect freedom.


Karen and I like to watch various war documentaries each year on Remembrance Day, especially those that help us get a view inside the lives of the every day people that lived with war as their reality. This year, one of those documentaries was the story of Anne Frank.

If you don’t know the story of Anne Frank, you need to; do yourself a favor and discover it: Anne Frank. Suffice it to say that the quote above stands in stark contrast with her reality as a preteen Jew in Nazi-occupied Netherlands.

Just two days after Remembrance Day (2015), Paris came under attack by terrorists, hurling the city into the greatest state of crisis since WWII. With full compassion for all whose lives have been assaulted and forever changed by this event, let me say that this is not new for our world. There is crisis all over our globe. The frustrating part for many of us is that there doesn’t seem to be a way that we can have any significant impact.

I have to believe that much of the unrest in our world comes from feelings of jealousy, and fear of alienation (or possibly extinction) that result in a seething hatred. Maybe I am oversimplifying, but let’s call it close enough. To this end, all of us can generate a positive impact in the next minute. Literally. We can all be antidotes to hatred.

Antidote is defined as “an agent that relieves or counteracts”. We call all be agents of relief and counteraction. In our workplaces we are often so preoccupied with the technical aspects of our work that we lose sight of the human aspects. It is easy for the people in our workplaces to come to feel alienated.

“Life likes to be taken by the lapel and told, “I’m with you kid. Let’s go!”
Maya Angelou

You (yes, you) could be an agent of relief and counteraction right now. You can get up from your desk and affirm someone at your work…and develop a habit of doing so more often.  Look for the best in others – acknowledge them, smile more, listen more, assume the best of them and celebrate both their small and large successes. Be sincere (attentive in the moment and eye to eye whenever possible), and speak factually with specifics (not flattery). If you need more ideas for positive impacts, there is a list of 50 of them posted on a blog site: Life Optimizer.  You won’t do them all – but any step forward is a positive impact.

Ultimately, we can dwell on the misery, or let it propel us forward as agents of relief and our weight to all that is beautiful in life.

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world” (Anne Frank).