Last week’s post entitled “Pando” enforced the idea that growth is a direct result of the dynamics of our relationships with other people. Relationships are the very bricks on which our lives are built. Unless your name is Jesus Christ, chances are you had no say in when you were born. I’ll take it a step further and say that even the parents you were born to had no idea that it would be YOU that they would have-a boy, sure, but not YOU. The point I’m trying to make is that we typically have no say about the communities we find ourselves in. We don’t choose the families we are born into. We just find ourselves there.
Now, whether the dynamics of those relationships are favorable or not, it’s evident that relationships are the very basis of human existence. To put it simply, there is no humanity without other people. That might sound silly and elementary but take some time to reflect on this.
How many times have you told yourself “I don’t need anybody!” Most times we express this sentiment when we feel abused. During those times when we feel hurt, mistreated and disappointed, we tend to listen to the voices in our heads telling us that we are not loved, or valued by others. How do we respond in most cases ? We put up walls to keep people out, we put our guards up in fear of letting anyone else in that could hurt us the same way. One of the most difficult wars to wage is the one that takes place in our minds.
Understand that the notion that you don’t need anyone, is a lie.
We do need people, and people need us. That’s [half of] how this whole humanity thing works.
Be A Man
As men, we are encouraged to do everything on our own. When a boy falls down he will most likely hear something like, “Be a man! Get up and stop crying!” or something like “Man up!” As if the presence of emotions not simply abolishes but also proves the absence of manhood.
So how do we measure the efficiency of our relationships ? How do we evaluate those in our communities ? Who should be in our circle and who shouldn’t ? HOW DO I CHOOSE MY BRICKS ?!
To answer that question, I came up with “The Pando Model” (see the previous post to learn more about Pando.)
1.) Partner yourself with like-hearted people
Pando’s success was made easier as result of the uniformity and singularity of likeness that exists between Aspen trees. Translation, they are the same trees. However, Pando’s failures are also a result of the link that exists between Aspen trees. In order for a team to win championships, every player on the team has to have the same goal. Their hearts must be for each other in every way, even if that means playing a lesser role despite their actual capabilities.
So, who has access to your roots ? In other words, who has access to your heart (or attitude) ? Why do they have the access that they have ? What is the purpose of the relationship ?
2.) Pursue depth in relationships
Pando survived between 80,000 to 1 million years, in part because thousands of roots merged into one root. For that merger to occur in the roots, a process had to take place deep below the surface. Any Aspen tree that was not able to seek depth was not able to merge with Pando, they didn’t stay long enough to be a part of Pando’s splendor.
To put it simply, seek people who will keep you accountable. Seek trustworthy people, who have your best interest at heart, and let those people in your business. Tell them your strengths and weakness, be vulnerable. These are the people who will be there to tell you “no” when you’re about to make a detrimental, legacy destroying decision.
Not having accountability is like buying a car with no brakes. Would you buy a Lamborghini without brakes ? It might go fast and look nice on the outside, but what use is it if it can’t stop ? That would be a death trap. Same goes for you, don’t let your life be a death trap !
Beware of shallow relationships. Depth is required for growth to take place.
3.) Participate in the success of others
Although Pando is recognized as an individual organism, without the individual success of each tree, there would be no Pando. In other words, as much as we expect others to endorse our own success and be committed to us, the same should be expected of us. Think of Pando as your community (workplace, school, family etc). Realize that your life and your growth impacts everyone else’s growth or demise, as much as theirs affect yours.
Who’s in my community ? Am I growing ? Are they growing ? Does my presence nourish others or do I deprive them of the nutrients they need to grow ? Are they nourishing my growth ?
Remember: If you are not growing you are dying.
So, lets change the narrative fellas. Let us transform ourselves, and our communities. We need each other to do so. We need every skill, every gift, every idea, every story. They all count. I need you brother.