“We cannot wait for great visions from great people, for they are in short supply. It is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness.” – Charles Handy
It is far too common today to become cynical and disenchanted with the state of the world. Many have looked to leaders to provide direction, to be the moral compass for all. Instead they find far too many of our political, religious and prominent leaders from many walks of life to be self-serving and opportunistic. This leaves many disappointed and hard pressed to find anyone to look up to and emulate. When people think they have found someone to look up to, their hopes are dashed asunder when a flaw or imperfection is discovered that casts aspersions on what they thought they were.
Though it is good and appropriate to seek out positive role models in life, we should never let the messenger blinds us to the message. Great people rise and fall but it is the underlying message that is constant. For though there are many guideposts modeling teachable moments on positive living, it is really the small flames that we ourselves create daily that are what truly lights up the world.
It reads in the Bible that “The kingdom of God is within you”. Yet most people look to others to make them feel fulfilled. This leaves them vulnerable, no longer masters of their own destiny. However, it is the person who takes personal responsibility for self who is committed to being true to self, who perseveres daily, regardless of how difficult it may be, who does the right thing because it is the right thing to do, whether it is difficult, fearful or goes unrecognized .
The great people may present the great visions but it is the people in everyday life who move us forward through living responsibly. They persevere regardless of sudden anxiety and depression that may befall them in order to actualize their values and ethics in ways that help light small fires in the hearts of others in the world around them that great leaders do not.