“Sometimes you are unsatisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life. A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of flying. But, a pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse and dreams of returning home. That’s life!! Enjoy yours… If wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be dancing on the streets. But only poor kids do that. If power ensures security, then officials should walk unguarded. But those who live simply, sleep soundly. If beauty and fame bring ideal relationships, then celebrities should have the best marriages. Live simply. Walk humbly and love genuinely..! All good will come back to you.” – Dr. Ben Carson
What does it mean to be Promethean?
: relating to, or resembling Prometheus, his experiences, or his art especially : daringly original, rebelliously creative and innovative.
I enjoyed a ten-year career in professional rugby, but I wasn’t very talented. I was the least athletic of my childhood friends and I didn’t touch a rugby ball until I attended a school where the sport was mandatory. As children do, I grumbled to my parents, I didn’t want to play it, I wanted to play other sports (that I was even less talented at). However, somewhere along the way I realised that I was not only lucky to play a sport, but I was lucky to be physically able to play sport. One of my best friends in school had a physical disability that did not offer even give him the choice. That changed how I perceived it.
That understanding, coupled with hard work and discipline yielded positive results. With an underlying sense of gratitude, I doubled down on my new-found formula and soon surpassed my peers, many of whom were schoolboy sports stars. Alas, as we often learn the hard way, talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates, there is lots of movement but no direction. I witnessed so many sports people squander their talent and it is always a regret that they harbour in later life. The focus of this Thursday Thought is that we all have a gift, we all have an inner spark, an inkling to do something, the biggest tragedy is to waste it.
The following passage is uncomfortably inspiring, written by civil rights leader and mentor to Martin Luther King, Dr. Howard Thurman. “Imagine, if you will, being on your death-bed… and standing around your bed are the ghosts of the ideas, the abilities, the talents, the gifts, the dreams… given to you by life, that you for whatever reason… you never pursued those dreams, you never did anything with those ideas, you never used those talents, you never used those gifts, you never took advantage of those opportunities… And there they are… standing around your bed, looking at you before you take your last dying breath, looking at you with angry eyes saying, “We came to you, and only you could have given us life and now we must die with you forever.”
I have taken to reading the Greek myths to my children at night time, I highly recommended it, they love it and I learn so much. Last night, we read about how the Greek Titan Prometheus sculpted humans from clay. While it was Zeus idea, Prometheus had the skill to execute it. He made us in a range of colours from black, brown, ivory, yellow, red, blue, beige, purple to cobalt blue. He did, that is until Zeus, in his excitement to see us, clumsily stood on the blue, purple and green ones.
Zeus wanted humans to enjoy life, but also wanted us to serve and worship him. Prometheus, on the other hand, loved us and wanted us to live life to the fullest. When he revealed to Zeus how he would teach us to farm, hunt, cook and forge tools, Zeus thundered (excuse the pun) that humans should never have fire. Zeus felt that if we had fire, we would become Godlike and threaten the status quo. He was right.
It saddened Prometheus that his creations could not enjoy the gift of fire. He felt that while humanity appeared to enjoy life, such a safe unchallenged and unchallenging existence had no zest to it. He vowed to give fire to humankind, but not just fire to cook, fashion and forge. He secured for us, fire in the sense of an inner creative spark, a divine fire, a fire inside to inspired us to think, imagine, dare, dream and do. A fire to use our gifts and pursue our inner callings.
In doing this, Prometheus knew he would suffer the wrath of Zeus, but such was his love for humankind, that he did it anyway. However, even he didn’t foresee the dire consequences of his act. To ensure no-one else would ever disobey him, Zeus needed to send a powerful message. Zeus ordered the cyclops to chain Prometheus to a rock and had a pair of eagles devour his liver (Zeus found the eagles too beautiful so he made them into vultures). Each night, the liver grew back and the vultures returned to perpetually torment poor Prometheus. Despite his horrific fate, Prometheus was content that he had bestowed humankind with such gifts.
Prometheus risked everything to give us a spark, a fire within. Therefore, it is our responsibility to kindle that spark, to keep it alive and to nurture it on to future generations. We are all born with a spark, however small and however clouded by circumstance. Many of us allow our spark to fizzle as we grown older or allow others to extinguish or douse our inner flames. While we will not suffer torture like Prometheus did, not embracing our spark can result in mental torture throughout our existence.
THANKS FOR READING
If you are aligned with this thinking and would like to explore a conceptual journey of change, you may like my forthcoming book: “Undisruptable” which promotes a mindset of permanent reinvention coming in March 2021.
It is also available in a story-rich, visual and experiential course for organisations big and small.
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