How Do You Stack Up?

We all love a good comparison. Whether we are comparing our car to the person next to us at the lights, or our homes when we visit our friends, or how well our kids behave. Our life can be one long journey of measurement against the things and people around us. As we all probably know, comparison can actually be quite dangerous and destructive.

But there is a website that you should check out – it compares every person in the world according to how much they earn. globalrichlist.com

All you need to do is put in your annual income and it will give you a ranking, to the person, according to your wealth on a global scale. It is a very interesting insight and quite profound.

The average income of a full time employee in Australia is almost $82,000, and according to the website the average Australian sits in the top 0.3% of the world. That means if the world was in a line starting at the richest person all the way back to the poorest person, the average Australian would have 99.7% of the global population standing behind them in that line.

That is incredible to me and it shows me that, whilst Australia is certainly not perfect, we are in such a strong position to create positive change with our wealth and influence that comes along with wealth.

Where do you rank in the line? What positive changes are you going to create through your wealth and influence?

Motivated

Have you ever wondered why you act in a certain way?

When I was younger I used to sit at the back of every classroom, meeting room or theatre I found myself in. I would tell myself I did that because I was a ‘Back Row Bandit’, and I was rebelling against the system of rows that we were forced to comply with. I was a freedom fighter of sorts…

Over time I discovered that wasn’t true. In reality I was feeling insecure and I worried that if someone was sitting behind me they could see over my shoulder and observe my actions and realise that I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to be found out – it’s not an uncommon experience I’ve discovered.

Understanding why we do the things that we do can be one of the most complicated elements of being a human. We are intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical beings and at any given moment there can be a dozen influences at play within us that can effect our behaviour.

Allowing ourselves time and space to reflect and ask the ‘5 Why’s’ can assist in the discovery of the root cause of any sort of behaviour, career choice, reason why we choose to be generous, or reason why we choose not to.

It’s not a judgemental process but a great tool that we can use to get to the heart of why we do the things we do.

Sit down, think of something you do consistently (this could be something great that you do), or a behaviour that you wish to change, and ask yourself why you do it. For every response you have follow it up with another why. Be honest, gracious and intentional. Once you get to 5 why’s you are well on your way to understanding your motivation, which could be fear (much of what motivates me to do things that I don’t really want to do is fear), or regret, or pain. When you can articulate what motivates you (again, without judgement), you can begin to make conscious choices to change or refine that behaviour. This is a step in the journey of living life on purpose.

Bad Development

People make mistakes. All of us do. It’s a fact of life. How we respond to those mistakes will either allow us to create something great out of them or it will define us.

Many people give their money generously to a vast amount of charities. When people give, they have an expectation that the money will be used wisely to create a positive impact in a certain area of the world.

Sometimes those expectations are not met and the positive impact is not created, in fact it can actually cause a negative result. I have seen this often with international development. When organisations work in developing countries to fight against poverty a program that they implement with the intention of doing good can backfire and create harm. I’ve heard of projects where the experts convinced local farmers to change their crops, so they could grow more of another type of food which would increase their income. In the end the new crop didn’t produce anywhere near what was predicted, so the farmers were left with less than they would have if they didn’t change, and what they did harvest, nobody wanted to purchase because there was no demand.

That is bad development. But it’s not the end of the story. If we allow it, by being open and honest when things don’t work out, bad development can be the stepping stone to good development then great development and then life transformation.

It’s the same in everyday life. A mistake doesn’t have to be fatal, in fact it can be the greatest thing to ever happen because it brings learning and a fresh perspective.

Buzzwords – Transformation

When you work in an industry for a while there are usually a number of words or phrases that become the flavour of the month or year or decade. Almost cliché like.

In an office environment I would hear ‘going forward’ regularly, or ‘synergy’ or ‘touch base’, ‘circle back’, ‘think outside the square’, ‘reinvent the wheel’…I could go on. Don’t get me started on the acronyms. Oh yes, the acronyms, mostly the TLA’s (three letter acronyms), there is COB (Close of Business), ROI (Return on Investment) FTE (Full Time Employee), ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival – should that not be ETOA?) or my favourite BAU (Business As Usual).

One word that gets overused and under appreciated is transformation. It sounds great but doesn’t necessarily carry with it specific meaning, thus it has become a fancy word that people use when are talking about change. But it’s much more than that.

From an International Development perspective, we talk about transformation in the lives of those living in poverty and it is helpful to define what that actually is. It is more than just change or transition, it is taking something and creating into something completely different.

Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the goal of development is to transform the lives of those living in poverty, which can bring sickness, hopelessness, and disempowerment, into lives that are highlighted by nutrition and health, a sense of hope and a future, and an empowerment to make decisions of their own behalf.

Transformation is a complete change into something new. Not just a better version of what was, but a brand new thing that didn’t exist before.

Now that’s a lofty goal, and one worth striving for.