What Made You . . . You?

Abundance and Prosperity: What Made You . . . You?

If you ask someone who is, say, less than 25 years old to name the most defining moment of American history, they’re likely to say 9/11.

“Why,” you might ask. “What made that the most defining moment?”

“When the terrorists took over those planes, it changed our country forever. We look at the whole world differently now.”People a little older may name other events that were equally stunning, had equally permanent impact:

• Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech
• The day JFK was shot
• The campus riots of the Seventies
• The fall of the Berlin Wall
• The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004

Children who don’t remember 9/11 might say that the defining moment in history was the election of our first African American president or the devastating earthquake in Haiti last month.

Historians look for defining moments in history, because it helps them to understand our nation and world. For instance, some historians consider the seventies as a defining time for the United States. The nature of our country before that time was innocent, or gullible, or idealistic (depending on the viewpoint of the historian). With the onset of Vietnam, student riots, and the assassinations of MLK, JFK and Robert Kennedy, the nature was changed, became harder, more cynical, more skeptical or realistic (again, depending on the historian).

As you embark on your journey to abundance and prosperity, you will need to apply the same scrutiny to your personal history. What have been the most defining moments in your life? These might not be the obvious things, i.e. graduation, marriage, the death of a loved one. It might be the moment you heard a speech from a person who’d gone down the wrong road and was warning you not to do the same, or the moment a stranger spent four hours helping you dig your car out of a ditch. It might be an event, as in a weeklong mission trip to the Dominican Republic or the completion of your first novel. It might even be a process, as in the five years you cared for your dying father-in-law.

Make a quick list of the defining moments of your life, and then I want you to pick three of them to look at more closely. For each one, look at these two things:

• Impact. What effect did it have on you? Going back to the previous examples, maybe caring for your dying father-in-law forced you to grow up and learn more empathy than you’d ever had before. Maybe as the stranger dug your car out of the ditch, his conversation led you to rethink your divorce plans or your parenting style.

• Response. What did you decide to do, and what were the consequences? Remember our lesson about feelings leading to action? Depending on how you process events, you respond in different ways. Let’s say one of your defining moments was the missions trip to the Dominican Republic. If the impact on you was to make you realizing how steeped in abundance and prosperity Americans really are, then your response might have been to change your whole approach to giving. If the impact on you was to make you terribly uncomfortable, your response might be to withdraw from future mission opportunities.

As you go through this process, it’s really important that you don’t make it an exercise in self-abuse. Yes, you made mistakes. Yes, you might have take the wrong (or at least less beneficial) lesson away from an experience. Being human, you are going to live life imperfectly. But, if you’re willing to challenge the self-limiting perceptions and unquestioning habits that rule your behaviors, you can also live it fully and richly.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal growth, family life, leadership and organizational development. His programs and tools have helped hundreds of thousands of people live richer, more fulfilling lives. Learn more at https://www.rogerkallen.com//.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Write Your Story

    Once you submit your story, I'll review it and get back to you. This may take a few days. I'll let you know when it will be published and invite you to then share your post with your friends and family.