Inspirational author and speaker Wayne Dyer used an orange to demonstrate what happens when tough times pressure us. Here’s a recap of the conversation he had with a young man who was sitting in the front row during a lecture he gave, taken from one of Dyer’s blog posts.
“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”
“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”
“No!” he laughed.
“What about grapefruit juice?”
“What would come out of it?”
“Orange juice, of course.”
“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”
He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point. “Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”
I nodded. “Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”
Are you experiencing fear with coronavirus? Fear is what’s inside. You may not like to acknowledge this. It’s understandable. We often believe we have things under our control. Are you experiencing resilience and compassion? That’s what’s inside of you. Congratulations. Have you thought about how you can help others cultivate the same?
Whichever reaction you have to the coronavirus crisis, it’s okay. You are who you are at this moment in time. The question is not which response is better or right. The better question is, which is more helpful to you, your colleagues, your community and your loved ones in the long term?
If your reactions aren’t helping others be stronger, calmer and more proactive, then you may want to reconsider them. Often we think leadership is for those at the top like the government officials, CEOs or our community leaders. Let’s rethink that. In a cohesive society, leadership is everyone’s responsibility. We all have to lead responsibly because we all impact each other by what we say and do.
What’s inside of you may not seem like it’s your choice, when you consider your background or the challenging experiences you’ve had to endure. You may think you have no other options but to be the way you are. But you do. This crisis is a fantastic opportunity to grow, to learn and be a better leader, in whatever capacity that you lead.
How can you take the lead more seriously today? In what ways can your actions be wiser? How can you positively influence others today for a more inspired tomorrow?
It’s what’s inside that counts.
What’s inside of you?