• Happiness comes from within. We spend way too much of our lives looking for outside validation and approval that eludes us. Turns out, it’s been an inside job all along. Go inward.
• Be grateful for everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. Our entire life is a precious gift. The pleasure, the pain — it’s all part of our path.
• Subtle shifts in perception will transform your entire life. When feeling fearful, angry, hurt, simply choose to see a situation differently.
• In being true to yourself, you can’t possibly make everybody else happy. Still, it’s better to risk being disliked for living your truth than to be loved for what you are pretending to be.
• The world is our mirror. What we love in others is a reflection of what we love about ourselves. What upsets us about others is a strong indication of what we need to look at more closely within ourselves.
• Everybody comes into our life for a reason. It is up to us to be open to the lesson they are meant to teach. The more someone rubs us the wrong way, the greater the lesson. Take notes.
• Trust. In troubled times, just know that the Universe has your back and everything is going to be alright. If you’re not there yet, trust in hindsight you will understand. Your higher good is being supported, always.
• Never take things personally. What others do is a reflection of what’s going on in their own life and probably has little or nothing to do with you.
• A walk in nature cures a lot. Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting. Bonus: You can learn a whole lot about life in your observation of the awesomeness which is nature.
• Hurt people hurt people. Love them anyway. Although, it’s totally okay to love them from a distance.
• You have to feel it to heal it. Bring your fears and weaknesses front and center and shine a blazing spotlight on them because the only way out is through. The hurt of facing the truth is SO worth it in the long run, I swear.
• Perfectionism is an illusion. A painful one at that. Ease up. Strive for excellence, sure, but allow yourself room to make mistakes and permission to be happy regardless of outcome.
• Take the blinders off. Don’t become so laser-focused on your own goals and desires that you miss out on the beauty in life and the people around you. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with eyes wide open.
• Celebrate the journey. It’s not all about the destination. Savor all of your successes, even the small ones.
• Forgiveness is not so much about the other person. It’s about you and for you so that you can gain the peace and freedom you deserve. Forgive quickly and often.
• Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile. Be goofy. Take chances. Have fun.
• Surround yourself with people who love and support you. And, love and support them right back! Life is too short for anything less.
• Learn the delicate dance. Have big beautiful dreams and vision. Chase them with much passion. But, also hold on to them all ever so lightly. Be flexible and willing to flow as life comes at you.
• Giving is the secret to receiving. Share your wisdom, your love, your talents. Share freely and be amazed at how much beauty in life flows back to you.
• You cannot give what you do not have. be careful not to give too much. If you empty out your own cup completely, you will have nothing left to give. Balance is key.
• Say “YES!” to everything that lights you up. Say “no”, unapologetically, to anything that takes away from that light Time is one of our most precious resources that we can never get back. Manage it wisely.
• Sometimes we outgrow friendships. It doesn’t mean they’re bad or you’re bad. It just means you’re on different paths. Hold them in your heart, but when they start to hurt or hold you back, it’s time to give space or let go.
• Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life. Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.
• The answer to most problems is usually through the pain.
• Let those that you love know it often and enthusiastically. You can never say it or show it too much. Your time, total presence, love, and genuine concern for their wellness is the greatest gift of all.
• Life is a collection of highs and lows. It is what we do with them that matters. We need them both to grow to our fullest potential. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.
• We are all connected.
• Practice daily gratitude for all the blessings in your life, large and small. Not only is this a high vibe practice that feels amazing, in practicing regularly you are creating space for even more abundance — of joy, love, health, and prosperity.
• We are not the center of the universe, although our ego can make us feel that way at times. Step outside of that way of thinking and see the world and other people’s perspective in a whole new beautiful light.
Leadership and creativity
Engaging our community is not always easy. Every day we must decide whether to put our contributions out there or keep them to ourselves. New initiatives and ideas can feel risky. But leadership is worth it when our voice makes a difference, when we put our ideas on the line and make the lives of those around you better. How can your voice, ideas, leadership, and creativity have a larger impact on your community and the lives of other?
“The who of the teacher is important, because we teach who we are,” P. J. Palmer (1997).
Our personal perceptions impact how we and others will respond. If a principal at a school, for example, concludes that the department’s budget problems result from overspending, then they will cut expenses. If they see the problem as inadequate allocations from central administration, they will lobby for more resources. If the principal believes the budget crisis stems from inattention to revenue generation, they might turn to new program development. If it is embezzlement, a call to the [campus] police is in order. (Bolman & Gallos, 2011, p19). How community leaders see the world impacts them and those around them.
This also applies to us (each student in this class) as well. We are all conservation leaders in our communities. Our communities are impacted by who we are, by how we see the world. Because our perceptions of the world (for example, hope versus despair) affects our personal realities and, by default our behaviors, they also impact conservation in our communities. We need to be aware of this.
Have you considered how you see the world? How your vision may be affecting conservation in your community? Please take a moment to read the story below before engaging and answering this week’s readings. If you have already answered before reading this post, consider the ‘who you are as a conservation leader in your community’ idea for the follow-up answers.
A story on perception
The importance of perception can be captured in a story told by Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute. Below is an embellished transcript of an allegedly actual radio conversation of a U.S. naval ship with the Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. This radio conversation was allegedly released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95, though later the authorities denied having done so.
October, 1995. The fog was thick as Naval Officer, Captain Noname, maneuvered a US fleet, in a training exercise meant to bring the US fleet down to the seas south of Iraq and prepare for potential military action. In the middle of the maneuver, as night fell, the visibility got poorer, with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye out. Shortly after nightfall, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.” The captain used the radio to contact the boat on the starboard side and ordered the boat to divert its course 15 degrees North to avoid collision with the massive US fleet.
Light Source: Negative. Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
The captain, upset by a request that would have him maneuver such a large fleet, repeated, “This is a US fleet under official business. We order you divert your course 15 degrees North to avoid collision.
Light Source: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Light Source: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course, 15 degrees South.
The captain, now upset, replied, this is Captain from the US Aircraft Carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the united states Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand you change your course 15 degrees North. I say, again, that is one five degrees North, or counter measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this fleet.
There was a brief pause, before the light source replied: Captain, we are a lighthouse. Your call.
This shift in perception experienced by the captain – and by us as we read this story – puts the situation in a completely different perspective. We can see how a change in our perception can modify our reality, and how managing our perceptions can impact who we are and what we will do (Covey, 1989).
Bolman, L. G., & Gallos, J. V. (2011). Reframing Academic Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Palmer, P. J. (1997, November). The Heart of a Teacher. Change Magazine, 29(6), 14-21. Retrieved from http://www.couragerenewal.org/parker/writings/heart-of-a-teacher
Swaisgood & Sheppard (2010) make a point that there is an ongoing trend of despair in conservation biology and a need to learn to balance hope with reality. Clayton and Myers (2009) believe cultivating this vision of hope is critical for motivating conservation change. Webb (2005), believes finding hope in ourselves is required to fight for conservation. A whole bunch of literature points to optimism.
Our attitudes change our lives. The way we view the world controls our perception, and our perceptions modifies our personal realities. We can choose to see possibilities and hope in our vision, or close our eyes to what positive beauty is in front of us. Either way, as leaders in the conservation community, we carry this vision with us and use it when we engage the world.
Can you challenge yourself to see global environmental changes as a positive possibility? Can you use this vision to impact others, as a power to bring the world with you toward saving our Earth? Jones Dewitt thinks so. Please take a moment to view this video before engaging in this week’s discussions.
Clayton S, Myers G. 2009. Conservation Psychology: Understanding and Promoting Human Care for Nature. Wiley-Blackwell.
Swaisgood, R. R., & Sheppard, J. K. (2010, September). The Culture of Conservation Biologists: Show Me the Hope! BioScience, 60(8), 626-30.
Webb, C. O. (2005, February). Engineering Hope. Conservation Biology, 19(1), 275-7.
During one of my classes we had a presentation that included research on Native American culture and history. Here, I learned about many myths and stereotypes that still exist about the first people of this land. Native Americans are said to receive special privileges. This is what Russell Means (Oglala Sioux) has to say about this:
“…The people from Europe in the guise of Christianity conquered us, and then they attempted to Christianize us and told us thou shall not kill. Then they proceeded to wipe out 56 Indian nations from the face of the earth. The Christians also told us, thou shall not steal, and proceeded to take our land… [They said thou] shall not lie and they proceeded to do away with indian treaties with fraud, coercion, deceit, and misrepresentation, and thou shall honor thy mother and thy father, and then they forced us into their schools and taught us not only to disrespect our tribe but our elders.”
It is deeply American to pay reparations for civil and criminal offenses. Is the Native American population receiving special privileges? Or are they owed a lot more?