When reading about the habits of highly successful people, a couple of things seem universal. Most of them seem to have a rigorous routine. Most of them delegate unimportant tasks. When possible, a large part of them simplify their lives so that they are able to focus on the more important things.
All these things seem to indicate that highly successful people achieve coherence, where all the aspects of their life are streamlined to contribute to a common end goal. When one leads a coherent life, all of one’s energy becomes focused; just like the boat advances fastest when all rowers work together, we advance at the highest velocity when all our energy is focused. When we do not lead a coherent life, our energy is scattered amongst things contributing to different end goals. We end up a little bewildered, confused, dissatisfied, and caught in false dichotomies that can plunge us into crisis.
I decided a long time ago that I wanted my life to be centered on the betterment of society. There are a lot of implications to this decision, including how to focus my passions on this goal. One of my biggest passions is writing; this very blog has been an ongoing experiment on how a blog can contribute to a conversation about the betterment of society. (More on that in my upcoming book, Six Years Later: Midnight Musings of an Overactive Mind).
Alone, of course, one can’t do as much as in the company of others. I have reached a significant milestone thanks to the help of a friend, a milestone which I feel has already begun to change the way I look at my contributions as a writer.
This friend of mine works at the Association for the Cohesive Development of the Amazon (ADCAM), a non-governmental institution which, for over 25 years, has been conducting socio-educational activities in the state of Amazonas in Brazil. The history of the organization is quite inspiring. It was born out of the fruits of a community consultation aimed at diagnosing its challenges as concrete actions to contribute to its physical, human, and spiritual development. The organization is inspired by the principles such as the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth, the importance of universal education, the elimination of all prejudices, the importance of equal rights and opportunities for men and women, and unity in diversity.
Amongst others, the association contributes to the empowerment of individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 (a.k.a. junior youth) to learn to analyze the forces acting on them. This will empower them to make decisions they deem will best contribute to a coherent life of contributing to transforming their communities (sounds familiar?). The association was looking into materials to add to its curriculum, and my friend suggested my book, Spirit Within Club. After translating the book into Portuguese and developing a study guide, the first contingent of around 150 junior youth started, as of 9 September 2014, reading the book and asking themselves questions encouraging them to reflect on the status quo, identify its weaknesses, and contribute decisively to changing it for the better.
I wish I could be sitting amongst this group of junior youth, and only partly because I would love feedback to pour into the second volume of the Spirit Within Club series; mostly I would like to be there because I feel it’s important to continuously ask ourselves these questions again and again. After all, it’s really easy to lose sight of one’s goals when social forces are encouraging us down a completely different path.
When it comes to writing, current societal standards intimately tie success with sales. Sales in turn are intimately related to certain genres and styles which are themselves influenced by social forces encouraging a life centered on our personal material well-being at the cost of everything else. It’s sometimes tempting to give in and write a few titles in the genres and styles that would sell well, so as to generate a stable income.
This is where mutual support and assistance come in. It can take many forms. Over the years, friends have helped by editing, buying, reviewing, and spreading the word about my writing. I am lucky that one of these friends was able to provide me with a unique forum in which I could share my writing. I have no doubt I will learn a lot from this experience, and hope that the 150 junior youth are able to somehow learn with the help of my book.
Onto writing the rest of this seven book series!
Image credit: Chad Mauger.
First published on Sahar’s Blog on 10 September 2014.