One morning last week during my travels, I had the option of sleeping in or getting out of bed an hour early to attend a keynote address given by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The idea that this was even presented to me as an option still makes me shake my head. Politics aside, when you have the chance to see a former world leader give a keynote address…you get out of bed.
And am I ever glad I did. Even though I don’t know too terribly much about Mr. Blair, one thing I learned immediately is that he’s an optimist. I’m sure anyone who’s ever heard him speak in person, has probably witnessed the optimism, kindness and goodwill that emanates from his every word. He struck me as someone who genuinely wants to make our world a more peaceful place and improve the lives of the less fortunate. By the end of his speech, I felt inspired, uplifted and pissed off that I didn’t bring a pen. (For someone who loves to write as much as I do, you’d be surprised how often I inconveniently find myself without a writing implement). There were a dozen things he said that I wanted to share with you, but of course my memory has retained only one. And that is the importance of finding opportunity in all the changes and challenges facing our world today.
I realize this isn’t a new or revolutionary concept, but it’s an important one and it resonated with me because I know how easy it is to feel afraid, overwhelmed, burdened, paralyzed, and, sometimes, depressed by the crazy things going on in our world. Mr. Blair’s speech reminded me that while these challenges are indeed significant, they also present a number of opportunities for unity and growth as a global community and as individuals.
Whether you look at the challenges in your life at a macro level, those facing the world, or a micro level, those facing you personally, I think this concept is important to apply in order to build the life you want and ensure sustainable prosperity.
“Ideals survive through change. They die through inertia in the face of challenge.”
– Tony Blair