Be A Luminary: 5 Essential Skills
America has no shortage of luminaries; however, we do have a shortage when it comes to putting a value on a luminary. I will bring luminaries to the forefront of our thinking in today's blog. These humans embody the change we wish to see in the world. Topics include:
WHO IS A LUMINARY? IMAGINE
EMULATE THE RENOWNED
WHO IS A LUMINARY?
Luminaries are everywhere – if you know how to spot them. They are leaders in Sports, the Arts, Philosophy, and Business. These coaches, teachers, mentors, parents, friends, and colleagues inspire us to achieve great things.
Luminaries are creative, adaptable, open-minded, highly intelligent, and extremely stable. A luminary will build on what we already know and can achieve a higher level of understanding or expression. They open our minds to the greatness within us with their luminary skills.
A luminary is inspired from deep within their psyche. People around them see and feel the light or energy emanating from them. A luminary embodies light – so much so that they light the path for others.
Please don't confuse a luminary with that person who walks into the room and lights it up at a social event. That flamboyant, charismatic person is probably not a luminary. In my experience, these types often have over-inflated yet fragile egos. Most of their brightness comes from selfie flashes and a 'look-at-me' attitude.
A luminary is the type of person you feel comfortable having heartfelt conversations with. They invite you to express yourself in an open and non-threatening way. You can feel their genuine interest in hearing your story and learning about how and why you think the way you do.
Dialogues with luminaries are usually about building up, practicing kindness, and hoping for the future. Simply put, luminaries marvel at how incredible it is to be human and how proud we can be of our accomplishments around the world.
The luminary radiates self-confidence with a slight aura of mystery (probably because they are not the average person we meet in our daily walk). They are fundamentally strong and understand the human mind.
A word of caution: Because it's comfortable to be around a luminary and find a great sense of security, it might be too easy to want to dump your life's problems at their feet. However, a luminary's mind is not a dumping ground. It's not their mission in life to reform your misery.
Coach's sidebar: The human mind is today's most sophisticated computer. This human-computer can achieve mighty things. Even as individual neurons die, our neural networks readjust, fine-tuning their connections to sustain optimal data transmission. The power is yours. Take good care of your mind. How? Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Hydrate properly. Get adequate sleep. Prevent injury. Practice meditation. Sound familiar?
It is the mission of the world's citizenry to reform itself for its inhabitants. Humanity evolves because luminaries demand it. For example, they show us how we have unlimited opportunities to bring light into the world. And they go about their business doing just that.
Luminaries are not to be confused with visionaries. Think of visionaries as architects and planners who orchestrate a detailed arrangement toward an end goal. A visionary may have many of the same traits as a luminary, but there are distinctions.
Luminaries tend to be imaginative and somewhat impulsive. The luminary prefers tasks that allow for the inventive spirit – without the structured control used by visionaries.
Visionaries paint a picture of what they envision is possible for the world, a community, or a project. Luminaries show you what is possible because they embody their beliefs. They may be one step ahead of you on the path or miles ahead, leaving signposts for you along the way.
A luminary is a person who has the magical ability to guide conversations toward a common goal that serves many in a group of divergent thinkers. A luminary can open doors of intellect and depth that allow human minds to function in highly evolved capacities. They know humanity is meant to live, work, and achieve together.
Most leaders, mentors, and coaches move in and out of both roles. In the role of a luminary, it is imperative that a leader illuminate the way for others. Just imagine the potential of having a true luminary as the leader of our country -- one who could reach deep into our hearts and truly inspire us.
This kind of luminary leader would shift motivation from 'force over others' to 'power in service of others.' The luminary leader ignites the light in others, creating a space for every person to shine. The old "force" model, patriarchy, and pain no longer serve us as people or a planet. Being a luminary allows one to live and lead from a place of expansion and what's possible versus a place of limiting fear and smallness.
A luminary leader can accept the plight of all humanity without judgment and create 'centripetal' power that pulls societies towards a central point of unity – as opposed to our current state of 'centrifugal' force of ever-expanding political differences that incite emotional explosiveness, divisiveness, and even violence. During the last decade, our centrifugal-based culture, coupled with the instability of our political machine, has pulled us apart and devolved humanity.
To borrow apropos lyrics from the late luminary John Lennon: "Imagine all the people Sharing all the world. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope you'll join us someday, and the world will be as one."
EMULATE THE RENOWNED
I've listed some renowned luminaries who have personally impacted the world and me. These incredible people sensed an urgency to step forward, unite people, and work proactively for the common good. They used their unique gifts to illuminate.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) changed the world with the power of his pen. Franklin said, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Franklin was directly involved in many of the essential pieces of the political writing of his time. Ben Franklin was the only Founding Father to have signed all three documents that freed America from Britain: The Declaration of Independence, The Treaty of Paris, and The United States Constitution.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is widely recognized as one of the 20th century's most significant political and spiritual leaders. Honored in India as the father of the nation, Gandhi pioneered and practiced the principle of resistance to tyranny through mass nonviolent civil disobedience. He withstood racism, beatings, humiliation, and jail with grace in his quiet bravery. Gandhi is credited with one of the most often quoted phrases, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Amelia Earhart (1897-1939) was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart's success was not only in breaking aviation records but in overcoming barriers for women. She set an example of courage, achievement, and not being afraid of envy, criticism, ignorance, or indifference. Amelia hoped her flights would allow women to hold jobs at every industry level when flying became a common form of transportation. One of her famous quotes is, "Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done."
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a courageous individual. For over 50 years, she comforted the poor, the dying, and the unwanted worldwide. Mother Teresa created programs and initiatives that made her the icon of charity. She is the greatest humanitarian of the 20th century, saying, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples." Mother Teresa wasn't casting a vision and expecting others to follow her. She was lighting the way and embodying the light she wanted others to share.
Dalai Lama (1935 - present) is the Tibetan people's head of state and spiritual leader. His Holiness is a Nobel Prize-winning peace activist known for his unswerving commitment to Love, compassion and non-violence. The Dalai Lama has moved the world with his spiritual teachings on 'the universal religion of kindness.' He says, "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
While we may not become a legendary luminary, we can emulate these renowned luminous beings' passion, dedication, and devotion.
Luminaries are inspired and inspirational. When genuinely inspired by something, your energy will be very high. People around you will feel it even if it is something they can't quite put their finger on. They will sense it and want to be around it. The first step in transformation is inspiration. Kindle excitement. Become a master of the things A.I. cannot (yet) imitate – heart, spirit, and energy.
Luminaries are holistic thinkers. Holistic thinking is predicated on the idea that every element in the world is interconnected. It's the ability to see the whole picture and understand and predict the interdependencies of all humanity. Well-developed holistic thinking has become necessary to navigate with clarity in an information-overloaded society changing exponentially. Luminaries reflect before they act and lead from wisdom rather than emotions.
Luminaires are jointly empathetic and grateful. Everyone has a starting point in life, which is not considered equal. Be sensitive to this reality. Everyone has their method for dealing with challenges in their life. Being able to demonstrate empathy creates trust. Understanding the needs of others and being aware of their feelings is a vital trait of a luminary. You may need to broaden your perspective by frequently interacting with minds who think radically different from yourself to increase your empathy and gratitude. Gratitude is a central cornerstone for luminaries. Practicing gratitude demonstrates that we are entitled to nothing, not even our existence. Viewing the world in a state of constant gratitude reminds us that even strife brings blessings.
Luminaires seek consistent upgrades in self-awareness. The one constant factor in all your endeavors is you. Understanding yourself is therefore paramount. Constantly compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Focus on expanding your self-awareness and knowing where your natural inclinations lie. This will create a habit of upward evolution. As you work diligently to improve yourself, it will be noticed by those around you. Luminaries are self-aware, make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. Stay curious, and don't stop seeking to understand yourself, and the world around you.
Coach's sidebar: Nothing is more inspiring to me than to see student-athletes with minimal natural ability or talent eagerly and earnestly working to improve themselves. Frankly, I often learn more from beginners than from the highest-skilled players. A coach who sets an example through training, nutrition, injury prevention, and self-improvement in terms of process over results will instill luminary traits in students. Coaches who demonstrate their eagerness for continual learning give an essential gift to students: Empowerment.
With my sports background, I understandably look for luminaries in athletics. Luminary players are the ones who help grow their sport for future generations. They build upon past legends to elevate their sport to a higher level.
Sports luminaries are respectful and generous. These players encourage others to consider participating in a sport, and understand it is a privilege. They know how important athletics are in developing life skills like coping and resiliency. Luminaries understand the importance of learning the lessons of patience, hard work, and the all-important self-awareness attribute.
In tennis, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have both become shining luminaries. Each has endured endless injuries, setbacks and losses with grace and humility. Their talents are spectacular. Their winning records pale only in comparison to their professionalism and demeanor.
I am eager to see who will step up to the plate and carry on in the tradition of these 'greatest of all time' athletes. The bar is high. These two have shown us artistry and frequently leave us in a state of awe. They have illuminated the world through their grit and endurance.
If we value luminaries enough, their efforts will begin to command the headlines. They will become a beacon of light and a focal point of our attention. When our culture can evolve from the descent into lunacy, our current political obsessions have plunged us; we will have earned the change we wish to see in the world.
Luminaries shed light and optimism on a dark and relentlessly challenging world. Luminaries show us a better way, a healthier way, a more hopeful way. They help soften the harsh edges and remind us of our worthiness. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Luminaries answer that question every minute of every day.
Seek out, luminaries. Talk with them. Read about them. Highlight their contributions whenever you can. Thank someone this week for having made a positive, luminous impact on your life. When you begin to recognize and appreciate the path of the luminary, you are on your way to becoming a luminary. It's a lovely place to live!
Learn. Share. Inspire.
Be well, my friends.