Lighten Up and Light Up the World

light up the world!

Just how passionate are you about your work?

Do you still continue to be inspired despite challenges and rebuffs from other people who do not value what you have to offer?

Your passion for what you do can really light up the world if you give it a chance to do so.

There have been many times in my own life when I have suffered in pain and when I have lost the joy in my work.

Even in my blogging I have had my ups and downs as regular readers will remember from a while back.

It really is up to you whether you do something with joy or lethargy.

Let me tell you what I mean by sharing what I saw this morning, when I had a meeting in central London.

When I reached my destination train station, I noticed there were 2 or 3 people just outside the station, giving out free newspapers and leaflets. It was clear to even the most casual observer that they were simply going through the motions and were just waiting to finish offloading all their stuff so they could finish their job.

About 20 yards further down there was a lady, maybe in her 30s, also handing out leaflets. And there the similarities ended – she was putting an amazing amount of much energy and vibrancy in the simple act of offering her leaflets to passersby.

She had a genuine smile on her face and was almost skipping and bouncing on the spot as she gracefully held out her hand. Every passerby regardless of whether he or she took the offered leaflet was met with a flash of a full smile and then she moved on to the next person passing by.

I indicated that the leaflet was not for me and moved on to my meeting. Of course I received a beautiful smile, and not a sign of a rebuttal or indication of any negative emotion.

After my meeting finished an hour and a half later, I walked back to the train station and wondered if this lady would still be there.

And sure enough she was there, just as vibrant and energetic as before. She must have restocked on her supply of leaflets as almost every other person was responding to her positive energy and accepting a leaflet.

This time around I was really intrigued and I wondered what it was she was promoting. Maybe some high energy drink or a Zen meditation practice?

Alas, it was no more than a leaflet promoting a local hair saloon. They were certainly lucky to have someone like her promoting their work.

I also wondered what more this lady was capable of achieving if she was be employed in other jobs. It was intriguing too how she ended up distributing leaflets – maybe an in-between job or perhaps she just loved being out in the open, meeting and connecting with thousands of strangers!

I shall be back in the same area for a presentation on Friday – and I will be looking out for this lady. Maybe I will talk to her – and maybe I shall even offer her a job!

The point of my story is this – just how passionate are you in what you do?

Do you get people raving about what you do and how you do it?

You never know who is watching you in action – and what it could lead to.

From today onwards, remember that no matter how docile your job maybe or even if your work seems like drudgery, at the end of the day it’s up to you how much you put into it – and what you get out of it.

You have a choice – do something with joy or do it with pain. Which one will you choose?

PS One other thing – practice people watching at every opportunity. You will learn some amazing lessons for your life.

Photo courtesy of Beth Rankin

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  1. Hey Arvind,

    I’m a big believer in having a positive vibe. I think it communicates a lot of things, on a lot of subtle levels. Being positive reflects that you embrace life fully and you’re resourceful enough to make something extraordinary out of it. Which inspires others to be positive. Cool stuff!

    • Eduard, good to see you on my blog again.

      Being positive says a lot about you – your approach to life and what you are about. However it is much more than that. Doing something with joy and lightheartedly actually makes you feel better and its a lovely virtuous circle.

      I love what you say about making something extraordinary out of it. So my take on you have said is this – be positive and extraordinary, and inspire others through you.

      PS I love the word “extraordinary” – it’s a word created from “extra” and “ordinary”, so a novice to the quarks of the English language would assume that it simply meant being more ordinary, or more of ordinariness . Yet it actually means “beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable”.

      Time for all of us to be extraordinary!

  2. Arvind –

    I believe passionately that the work we do is part of who we are. If we find work that is energizing, enjoyable, rewarding and meaningful it adds to the joy of life. I work with my clients every day to find career paths that make life richer, happier and jucier. Great post, my friend – I love your observations.


    • Phil, thanks for your own ongoing observations. Life has lessons for us all around, if we care to look for them and interpreet them for our growth.

      That particular lady I saw this morning could have been coached by you with her passion and energy for her work:-)

      I have also learnt that even if the work is not currently energising or enjoyable, we can find ways of making it more fun and rewarding. It really comes down to a state of mind.

      Here’s to more joy for all of us in our work…

  3. Arvind,

    It was an interesting story of energetic lady with leaflets, many times we lose passion in something we used to enjoy, when we do not see results or get dragged in bureaucracy of paperwork or busywork.

    For example, I enjoyed working for a non profit and raising funds for them, but once we had a new lead, who was pushing people like it was a full time corporate jobs, asking people to come in odd weekend evening meeting and pushing for impossible agenda. It took joy out of many volunteer, and many left including me. Which was very sad for the organization and people who used to enjoy helping.

    May be we can find a joy or passion inside again and be that energetic person like that lday at the train station.

    • Zengirl, there is a fine line between joy in our work turning to drudgery.

      I wonder how much joy your boss has in her work – maybe her joy was seeing greater results. So the key sometimes is to see the end goal and why you are doing something.

      To find more joy, ask how your job or the task at hand serves a bigger picture.

      • Arvind,

        This was not paid position, it was volunteer work that we all did, in our spare time to help without any gain of money or gifts. That lead was paid position there, not most of us who were volunteers.

        • ZenGirl, thanks for clarifying.

          It makes sense too, as your boss had a different agenda from the rest of you who were doing the job for love and fulfilment rather than the money.

  4. This reminds me off all the odd jobs I’ve had and how much more fun they were when I was choosing to be enthusiastic. For a couple of years I had a sales partner and we chose to raise our energy to a place of fun in order to get over the stress. We finished the year with the top sales in the nation. It makes sense, – find away to play and enjoy and not only is it a less painful task, but others enjoy the ride. Your writing took me to a lovely place of remembrance today. 🙂

    • Aileen, welcome to my blog and thanks for sharing your fun stories. Glad my writing helped to take you to a lovely place of remembrance:-)

      There is no rocket science to making work fun is there! Find a way to play and enjoy and it becomes a less painful task.

  5. Hi Arvind,
    I’m a strong believer in the saying ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.’ There are lots of tasks I don’t love doing, but I choose to do them with a smile on my face because they are important and deserve the same effort as tasks I love. Plus, as you say, you just never know who’s watching, and where your next opportunity is coming from. You reap what you sow!

    • Indeed, Topi, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well – as long as we don’t become a perfectionist. Some tasks just need to be done and don’t have to be A- jobs everytime.

      As you say, you never know who is watching and where your next opportunity can come from.

  6. John Sherry says

    Arvind, your posts are always informative but this is one of my personal favourites.

    A fabulous story with an insightful deeper meaning. You are spot on when talking about people watching. Too many rush here and rush there (part of the human RACE!) with head down, eyes on the prize seeing nothing around them. Taking time to see the whole panorama of life as we live our own brings amazing lessons, unexpected opportunities and phenomenal learnings. And to prove your point I have just had an impromptu ‘meeting’ with a man I struck up a conversation with in a coffee shop queue. He gave me wonderful insight the type I never could have found if I wasn’t open to the world around. Life is 360 degrees.

    Super story, even more super the observation. Thank you for both!


    • John, I am glad to have written one of your favourite posts!

      As you say it’s amazing what we can learn by watching others and being open to whatever and whoever comes our way.

      John, keep being out there and sharing your spark with the world:-)

  7. fiona O'Hanlon says

    Hi Arvind,

    Love this post. I have had some realy interesting jobs and some quite boring. By seeking to maintain my own high standards and energy levels, I maintained a reputation for quality work. This of course eventualy led to more interesting work as my reputation for “smiling” and working hard led to more openings. Unless you are working for yourself, this is the terrain of corporate life.

    My best work was always realised when it had a human component and I could see that my work benefited other human beings. If this was not the case, then I substituted helping people with helping my boss. This in turn eventually led to more interesting work. Ultimately creating love in my work, also made me feel fulfilled and of course “happy”. The alternative was to feel bad and end up with dull work most of the time, in a very “quite” corner!

    • Fiona, as someone else said in the comments, you reap what you sow.

      Knowing you well, I can fully understand why your best work involved a human component:-)

  8. Christopher Frawley says

    What a great post.

    I’m sure this woman can scarcely imagine the positive impact she’s having on the world. She’s spreading her light. You picked up on it, shared it, and now we’re all feeling good about the reminder to live fully, gratefully, and happily. We can all carry that into what we do next, and so on it goes…

    She could be us and we could be her and wouldn’t that make for a great pulse of positive energy! Thanks for sharing this story !!

    • Chris, I am sure that woman had no idea abouthte positive impact she was having on the world, by her spreading the light.

      I was in the same area 2 days later and was hoping to see her but alas she wasn’t there. I would have loved to have told her about this article, inspired by her.

  9. Mary Ann Pashigian says

    I am a firm believer that we get energy from those around us every day. Kudos to you for finding a source of positive energy to light up your morning. The travesty is sometimes not even noticing the energy that is right in front of us. Maybe it’s time to unplug for awhile and take a respite from our Blackberrys, iphones, ipods…imagine!

    • Mary Ann, welcome to my blog.

      You are so right in saying that we get energised from those around us. We all know those people around whom we feel drained whereas others really uplift us.

      I remember how at one time I used to be so engrossed in my own world that I would miss most things happening around me. The old me would have probably missed this inspiring lady the other morning!

      Its definitely time for us to unplug for a while and become aware of all the magic happening around us all the time.

  10. Hi Arvind, I really needed your post this week! I had so much stress taking time off to go to a conference while still running my business in between sessions that I started to feel very negative about my work. I found myself resenting not being able to enjoy the conference. While everything worked out in the end – I think I wasted a lot of energy fretting instead of putting my all into the present. Thank you for reminding me to do what I have to do with joy instead of creating unnecessary pain for myself.

    • Angela, happy to have delivered a post that’s just right for you:-)

      Time for all of us to stop creating unnecessary pain for ourselves and create joy.

  11. I just love people like that woman. She just brings life into the world. And, smiles are contagious and make people happier and changes the chemicals in our brain.

    I have always tried to be positive in my jobs even the ones that have nothing to do with my field and be social…it makes me and others feel better. I look at it as God has given me this opportunity to touch others.

    Jobs that I had in my field are fueled by passion…so much so that sometimes I lose site of me. I love helping people and my profession always involves advocating for those who are unable to for themselves.

    • CC, welcome back to my blog.

      As you well know, it doesn’t take much to bring life into the world and make others smile.

      How wonderful that you were ablo to do jobs in your field and you got so feuled by passion, you lost sight of yourself:-)

  12. Sibyl - alternaview says

    Arvind: Great point. We really do need to be passionate and be happy about whatever it is we are doing. There should always be a sense of enjoyment when we are trying to do anything. It is so important and a prerequisite for success. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking “no pain, no gain”, but that is never a sound approach when it comes to doing something well. You have to find a way to enjoy what you are doing or you should just move on and find something else that you would prefer to do.

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