Hide Yourself or Reveal Yourself — the Choice Is Yours
Change seldom happens by accident or coincidence, especially when it involves other people, such as with rules, laws, policies, job promotions, and so on. The weather and the ocean tide will change no matter what we do or don’t do, but the rules of aviation and fishing will always be established by somebody and likewise enforced or regulated by somebody, thus susceptible to mistakes and inconsistencies.
As I reflect on some feedback I recently read directed toward the podcast I co-host, I can’t help but be incredibly grateful for people who set out to create positive change, no matter their personal or professional risk.
This thought process is especially prevalent right now for me as the political climate in America is heating up and as we recognize and celebrate the achievements of African Americans during Black History Month.
I’m not a historian and I don’t dare dive into politics, so rest assured that my thoughts here will remain broad and bipartisan.
Things change over time; governments establish new laws and regulations, businesses make improvements or adjustments to products and services, curricula get better (hopefully) or at least expand in each field, our investments get stronger or weaker, and so on. We can’t argue that change will never happen.
Change is like aging — it’s going to happen.
Of course, we can feel or even reasonably assume that certain changes won’t likely unfold. Here again, just consider your favorite political topic or agenda. Some change is slow or simply unlikely.
One thing I’m grateful for when considering fairness toward people or groups is the intentional and courageous stance of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. They both had a lot to risk and to lose in their efforts to bring about change, yet they approached their convictions in such a manner that helped to bring about change.
I can’t help but think what our world would be like if people such as Mother Teresa, Harvey Milk, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Tommy Austin, and Walt Disney didn’t act according to their convictions. Or perhaps Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos, who have helped to shape retail around the globe.
On the flip side, I’m reminded of these words shared by Les Brown: “The wealthiest place on the planet is the cemetery. There you will find potential never realized, dreams never pursued. There you will find people who allowed themselves to be imprisoned by fear.”
Nobody knows what would’ve happened or what things would be like if Steve Jobs never returned to Apple, if Rosa Parks quietly moved to the back of the bus, or if Walt Disney gave up after his first failed animation. They all had choices to make, and their choices impacted generations.
Nobody really knows what “could’ve been” or “would’ve been” had you or I only pursued something different, something more, or even something at all.
But choosing to hide because of your rare disease, disability, appearance, political party, religious convictions, sexual preference, age, or anything else only robs the world around you of greater potential.
Choosing to concede, withdraw, or remain on the bench because the game is hard or because others predict your failure only keeps you imprisoned by “what ifs.”
Whether or not a job promotion is given to me or an act of Congress is named after me should not dictate my decisions. Such outcomes may need to be considered and they may influence my choice, but at the end of every day, the choice is mine.
Whether a large boulder or a small pebble, all rocks cause a ripple when thrown into the sea. There is no good excuse for hiding my true and authentic self and allowing others to see what I’m made of. The same is true for you.
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