In my opinion he was the greatest Captain the Australian Cricket team has ever seen. Before Steve Waugh stepped into that role, he was part of the Australian tour of India in 1998. They were playing a test match in Kolkata which they lost badly, with one day to spare. Steve used that extra day to visit a clinic for children with leprosy. What he saw changed his perspective and his life, saying that the things he witnessed, he “…couldn’t just dismiss and pretend I didn’t see”.
So moved was he that he helped to raise money for the clinic that he visited, and over time he also created the Steve Waugh Foundation which helps to improve the quality of life for children and young people living with rare diseases.
Losing a game of cricket at an international level is tough, no doubt about it, but not as tough as what some people go through every day. He could have chosen to sit in his hotel room, maybe spend some time by the pool and drown his sorrows, but he chose to focus on other people and it changed everything.
Where we look shapes how we see the world. If we are always looking at those who have more than us then we will always feel a lack. But when we shift our gaze to those who have less then we will feel that we have plenty, which is the birthplace of gratitude, out of which grows generosity.
Which way are you looking?
I don’t know. I seriously don’t know anymore.
I used to think we were a laidback country that gave everyone a fair go, supported the underdog, and were amazing at cricket that we watched on Channel 9.
It turns out that most of these things are not true, or are less true than they used to be. Aussie cricket and the channel swap fiasco aside, it certainly feels that as a country, we are not as laidback as we once were. In fact, we are becoming increasingly un-laidback, or stressed and anxious. I feel it myself, most days as I go about my general life, I sense that there is a communal angst. If you don’t believe me, head to Google and type in “Australian Outrage” and scroll through the results. Sure there are some links that are things that we should be genuinely outraged by but they are side by side with stories on sport, comedians saying un-funny things, and other subjective opinions.
Perhaps the problem is do to with the word “Outrage”. Maybe it is getting overused, or maybe we can make some changes to it to give differing levels of angst. Perhaps we can try (in order of severity):
But, if finding new words doesn’t solve the problem, then perhaps we can change some actions. Our journey from laidback into outrage requires that we find an enemy, someone that is truly against us and everything we do. Honestly, most of our “enemies” don’t live up to that definition and we have to fudge over those parts that we have in common to make it all the way to outrage. To overcome that and find our way back to being laidback requires an act of generosity. A conscious effort of listening to hear rather than listening to judge and condemn. It needs a wisdom that says “Agree to disagree”, meaning that we don’t have to agree with everything a person says or does to share a country of residence with them. It’s a knowledge that understands that we have more in common with people than we have differences and chooses to focus on the common ground. It is a life not borne out of fear. That is what generosity looks like and that is how we claim back our laidback mantle. Generosity overcomes outrage.
Happy Australia Day!