One of my goals this year was to visit Africa, and in the process, help bring about positive social change. In July, I accomplished that, but not without some massive life lessons and paradigm shifts. I spent a week in Johannesburg mentoring and facilitating workshops for young adults.
Life altering experience.
Towards the end of week, I had a conversation with a young man who was looking to take his life to the next level. We discussed several areas but the emphasis was on his entrepreneurial pursuits.
A few minutes into the conversation, I shared how fascinated I was to see all the languages people spoke in South Africa. I said, “If you speak two languages in the States it’s a big deal, but it seems like the average person speaks at least four here!” Then I asked, “How many languages do you speak?” He paused for a moment, as if he was counting in his head, and then replied, “9.”
He then began to rattle off all the names of the languages he spoke. My mind was blown. Not only because I never met anyone that spoke so many languages before, but also because this brilliant young mind was in a conversation about a lack of resources.
I then offered him some food for thought, “Did you know you could be a translator for the United Nations? Or at least, start a business teaching people the languages you speak?” He looked at me in amazement, as if he was surprised I found his skill set so valuable.
I walked away from that conversation looking at life completely different. I realized that our struggles with becoming more resourceful (i.e. doing more with less, taking advantage of and creating opportunities, etc) boils down to two things.
Reframing Your Views on Resources
First, we need to change the way we look at resources. Society teaches us to view resources as things like money or high-powered networks. All external things.
Instead, we need to realize we have an infinite amount of resources inside of us. Creativity, determination, patience, resilience are a few examples of these innate resources.
And yes, money and relationships are valuable resources, but they don’t mean anything if we don’t leverage those resources within.
It’s also worth mentioning the focus on external pursuits in today’s world. As we place more importance on worldly things, we lose our sense of self and emphasis on self mastery.
Leveraging Your Resources
Lastly, once you’ve redefined what you consider resources, you need to be resourceful. It’s not so much what or how much you have, but how you use and leverage what you have that makes all the difference.
My mother is the most resourceful person I’ve ever met in my life. She raised 5 children on a single income, without making us feel like we lacked much of anything. She made $1 out of 15 cents on a regular basis. She mastered the art of making money stretch, and in the process, created the illusion that we “had.”
Look around. All the greats are resourceful. They squeeze every drop of potential and value out of themselves and their environment.
So the issue is not that we lack anything. In fact, I’m a firm believer in the fact that we have everything we need to be successful within us already. We have to master the art of being resourceful with those resources because in that lies to secret to success and fulfillment.