Is There Something Positive Inside of You?

After a long week of classes, Eliza Cameron, 19, Loren Niurka Mora, 20, and Caitlin Petro, 20, were ready to unwind. They settled on the shores of Sarasota Bay to take in the sights, chatting and idly watching a fisherman in waders, casting his rod. When the man dropped out of sight , it took them a second to realize that he was in trouble. Mike McClure, a retired youth counselor, had become trapped in an impassable trough. The water was up to his waist, and the weight of the flooded waders pulled him under. Caught by the current, he lost his footing and began to be pulled away by the current.

“We looked around, and there was no one else there,” Cameron said to Reader’s Digest. “We realized we had to go in.”They had to go in. It wasn’t a question or a decision, although they were frightened, and rightfully so. Even with three of them, they had to struggle mightily to pull the nearly unconscious man against the force of the current. But they had to go in.

It’s easy to become discouraged about human nature, isn’t it? The headlines are all about crime and the failing economy and our rapid, relentless destruction of the environment. But at the Human Development Institute, we believe that there is good reason to have great hope and trust in humankind.

• Three days after Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Catrina Williams was relieved to see a rescue helicopter touch down at her apartment complex. But when the pilot said he could only take a handful of children, she put her 6 year old son and other young relatives on board and waved a tearful goodbye. It was several days before officials, guided by the careful recitation of addresses and other identifying information by the 6 year old boy, were able to reunite all of the children with their parents.

• When their small, working-class town was hit hard by the recession, Dr. Dan Bell and his wife Suzie have devoted themselves to creating something positive by helping the community, including starting a health clinic.

• Diane John-Smith was living on welfare and food stamps and had given up on changing her own life, let alone anyone else’s. Then, inspired by a speaker about advocacy, she got fired up. Since then, she had dedicated herself to fighting for legislation that will make a difference for people living in poverty and hunger.

The nature of human beings is infused with something positive. Even a toddler will reach out to another crying child with instinctive compassion. Something inside of you was born knowing right from wrong and good from bad. It’s only when that innate knowledge is corrupted by fear or distorted perceptions that we lose our way.

The three college girls at Sarasota Bay were in tune with that higher part of themselves, so much so that they thought the rescue was nothing special. “It seemed like something anyone would have done,” Cameron said. They met with McClure several days after the rescue, though, and got a new point of view as he laid pictures of his wife, kids, and grandkids on a table. “That’s when I realized we’d done something amazing.”

Maybe you’ll never have the opportunity to rescue a drowning fisherman, but as you work to unearth your higher purpose, you’ll discover something positive inside of you that you may not have suspected.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com.


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