The Power of 10 (Book Excerpt)

A practice for engaging your voice of wisdom to be the greatest you – the you who is meant to be”

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[Excerpts From Chapters 1, 2, and 3]

The Power of 10:

The Power of 10 is a practice for engaging your voice of wisdom through a process of inquiry and advocacy. Inquiry increases awareness of what is through questions that invite us to examine our current state of being. Advocacy advances what is possible by encouraging us to live into that greater way of being in every thought, word, and action.

Together, inquiry and advocacy evoke the voice of wisdom – that quiet, still voice inside us, the confluence of knowledge, experience, and insight flowing through all living beings that speaks to us through our bodies, hearts, and minds.

We know more than we think we do. As we learn to listen closely to our voice of wisdom, it reveals our true nature and purpose, calls upon us to commit to something greater than ourselves, and guides us toward choices that help us reach our highest potential. When we live in harmony with our voice of wisdowm, what is and what is possible align, and wholeness and happiness become our way of being…

Excerpt One

Who am I?, excerpted from CHAPTER 1

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

Who am I? Ten thousand questions return to this one. Every language, every culture, every spiritual tradition petitions us to answer the question: Who am I? The great philosophers of ancient Greece engraved this question on the entrances to their temples. And it has echoed throughout history, from Shakespeare, who advises in Hamlet “to thine own self be true,” to our contemporary popular culture. In the film The Matrix, when Neo meets the Oracle for the first time, the sign above her kitchen door reads: “Know thyself.”

This first question invites us to examine the domain of self. With three simple words, the question elicits an almost infinite number of responses. Why? Because we each think, speak, and act in our own unique ways.

We all recognize our obvious physical differences: we are blue-eyed or brown-eyed, tall or short, left-handed or right-handed. Each of us experiences life from a unique vantage point, one based on our unique preferences and experiences. Our preferences are an innate disposition toward a certain condition, character, or effect—or, more simply, what we think of as our likes and dislikes.

Even when we agree on the names and circumstances of certain people, places, and things, we still attach different meanings to them. For example, she may remember the big tree in the back yard as the secret hideout where we built a fort, but he may remember it as the high place he fell from and broke his arm. He may remember Aunt Helen as a stern old woman with hands made for spanking, but she thinks of her as the family historian who baked delicious pies. Even identical twins growing up together make meaning in uniquely different ways. Though they may look alike and share the same history, each has a distinctly individual identity and way of relating to the world.

So if we are each unique, does it not follow that each of us has a unique purpose as well? That there is something distinctly ours—some talent, some skill—that offers us the opportunity to manifest our greatest potential? We may even experience an innate calling in the areas where we feel most alive, even if focusing on the term “purpose” can feel intimidating.

Identifying one’s “purpose” suggests a lofty goal, like saying, “I will make a billion dollars,” or “I will cure cancer,” or “I will win an Academy Award.” It might even be so, but need it be so grand? Maybe it is far simpler. Perhaps the secret to identifying your purpose is not in describing some aspirational future state. Rather, it is about connecting to what you are already great at, transforming the intuitive into the intentional by bringing forth that talent for your own and others’ benefit—manifesting the you that is already meant to be.

If you live for creating businesses, your purpose is about building organizations to solve problems that matter. If you are brilliant at research, then it is about spending time solving rational problems. If you are a natural performer and want to enrich the lives of others, then it is about spending more time entertaining. What could be a better purpose than

to catalyze entrepreneurship?

to extend human life?

to make people laugh?

It makes sense, does it not, that your true purpose has less to do with achievements, whatever their magnitude, than in being the best, most authentic you? Being the best you may have a scope as large as the entire world or as small as a single person you love with all your heart. However you express it, you know when your purpose is shining through by the way you feel. Experience tells us this—what happens when you’re being the real, best you? You feel alive. Happy.

The challenge for us all is the same: to choose to manifest what we are truly great at in this moment and in each moment in the future. What we choose to be, we become. To be our authentic, best selves, each of us must choose to be that self now, in the next moment, in the following moment, and so on. As we choose, we create the experience of the present and lay the foundation for the future.

Excerpt Two

For Living Into, excerpted from CHAPTER 2

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” –James Matthew Barrie

What are we bringing forth in others? We all have the ability to see the beauty, truth, and goodness that exist in virtually everyone we encounter. The people we meet are more than just their roles, another series of bullets on our agenda.

Seeing people in stereotypical or self-involved ways obscures the fullness of humanity. Why do we reduce whole lives to a series of snapshots—some of them flattering, some not? It takes courage to deepen our inquiry until we illuminate the common threads of our existence. But approaching everyone we meet this way reveals the vividness of human life.

Consider the following scenario: It’s the end of the day and you’re eager to get home. In the elevator, you encounter the lady who cleans the building, just starting her workday. Most days you might not even say hello to her, justifying your indifference with the excuse that she probably doesn’t want to be bothered or doesn’t speak English. You might not think of her as a person at all, but merely as the embodiment of a utilitarian function.

But what if you took a moment to see her apart from the work she does? What if you took the time to acknowledge her qualities as a human being: body, heart, and mind? You might notice her dignified posture, kind eyes, or warm smile. Maybe you notice a piece of jewelry and imagine the occasion when someone she loves gave it to her. Perhaps you feel an emotional connection and empathize with her, seeing how hard she works without complaint to create a better life for herself or her family.

If you allow yourself to relate to the cleaning lady in this way, it is only a short step to realizing that everyone is far more than their societal position, and that each person has their own wisdom. The cleaning lady is far more than her job. She is a person with her own unique expression of grace, positivity, and wisdom. Allowing ourselves to see the full humanity of the cleaning lady—or the police officer or bank teller—we are on our way to seeing every person we meet the same way, as a fully realized human being and a potential friend.

How does our treatment of others reflect our maturity?

It is easy to label people and confine them to the roles we ascribe to them. Acknowledging others as they are instead of viewing them as characters within your story is a skill to practice. It requires awareness to resist the impulse to dismiss someone as “just a salesman,” or “just a cleaning lady,” or just anything. But when we submit to the moment and acknowledge the real human beings in front of us, we suddenly realize they are more than just their roles, that they—just like our closest neighbors, our parents, or our grandparents—have rich, abundant lives that have nothing to do with us. In the instant we see our father as the young man whose heart was broken by a beautiful girl we’ll never meet, we change; our universe suddenly adds a dimension or two and we feel a new intimacy with that mysterious man who raised us.

We often fail to realize that we can choose to enrich our environment by responding to people as individuals. Part of the difficulty is resisting the temptation to treat others as shabbily as we sometimes feel treated. An important aspect of being our better selves consists in choosing to respond to the better self in everyone we meet.

Noticing and acknowledging the best in others in ways they can hear and understand liberates beauty, truth, and goodness. Adding positive thoughts, words, and gestures, we amplify our influence. In bringing out the best in the people we meet, we naturally bring out the best in ourselves. Thus, the golden rule has a corollary: how we do unto othersis how we do unto ourselves.

Excerpt Three

Dream, excerpted from CHAPTER 8

How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?” –Paul Bowles

What was your vision of yesterday? Looking back a year ago, five years ago, or even ten years ago, who did you see yourself being today? What life did you imagine for yourself? The further back you look, the less likely today’s reality will match your projection at the time. Indeed, it is often striking to recognize how many aspects of your current life would have seemed improbable, or even impossible, five or ten years ago. Unless your development becomes arrested at some particular stage, you will never cease to evolve.

Reflecting on the past helps us see more clearly into the future. Reflection offers the opportunity to identify patterns, productive and unproductive, and to review the status of our dreams. Are they still really ours? Are they sufficiently farsighted? Have they led to real happiness? When we reflect on our evolution, we should not be surprised to discover that many of yesterday’s dreams no longer serve us. They may feel like the clothes we wore ten years ago: too tight here, too loose there, and not at all the style we have come to prefer.

We all find ourselves out of step in this way at some time; sooner or later we have to stop, revisit our dreams and remember what they meant to us. If we remain open to what we discover, we often benefit when we look at our desired future anew. Start once more with a blank canvas. Dream big: How would you like to see your life five, ten, or twenty years from now? Envision a world in which we could all be whole and happy. How would such a world look? Allow the mind to wander, ignoring any limitations that present themselves as imaginary obstacles. If you could be granted any wish, what would you wish for?

Dream even bigger . . . dare to dream of a future unencumbered by the past. Be willing to conceive of something that might take longer than a lifetime, something greater than you alone can manifest. Write drunk, edit sober. Start by unburdening yourself of the goals of yesterday or the limitations you perceive today. Then, continue to expand the boundaries of your imagination. Suspending disbelief, you’re far more likely to be creative in ways that help to bring about what initially seemed impossible. For example:

Developing a vaccine that eradicates unhealthy viruses in humans.

Establishing a foundation that gives millions of dollars to charity every year.

Ensuring that girls in every developing country have equal access to education.

A good vision will memorialize your dreams, but a great vision inspires others to act. Such a vision not only galvanizes existing allies but emboldens stakeholders who may have been waiting to show up—stakeholders whose roles support your vision and feel pride in their connection to it. This is true on any scale, whether you’re a student seeking to form a group committed to change or a leader asking a nation to launch an endeavor that will take years to accomplish.

Document every idea, even if from your current vantage point it seems impossible. Consider the near and the more distant future and describe your desired attitudes: physical, social, and intellectual.

For example, building upon the vision of ensuring that girls in developing countries have equal access to education, one might expand upon the reasons underlying the need. Education is a critical means of instilling the knowledge, skills, and values that foster the culture of a peaceful and civil society. Eliminating barriers to education invites both girls and boys to participate in a shared language of equality, dignity, and nondiscrimination.

Too often we rush through the step of dreaming. In neglecting this exercise, we deprive ourselves of the chance to enlarge our vision and, as a result, sometimes find ourselves aiming for an easy target—or no real target at all. Begin from the vantage point of the future: If you were standing in the future and looking back, what would you want to see? What are the “trophies” on your wall of accomplishments and the memories in your heart? How will you feel? Who will you love? Where will you work? What places and sensations will you remember?

A well-conceived vision integrates purpose with a plan to achieve it. It is only to be expected that such a future will entail significant challenge and transformation. Be as sure as you can that the purpose and vision you fix on reflects your most authentic desires before you set your course and embark. But do set a course, and be bold. If your vision doesn’t scare you a little, maybe it isn’t big enough. However grand the scale of our dreams, as we pass the milestones along the way, we feel the timeframe shrinking and the future coming, and we draw strength from it. An inspiring vision exerts a pull from the future, the way standing at the base of a mountain and looking to the peak draws us upward. From where we stand in the present, we trace our paths, recognizing that each step we take today advances us that much closer to the summit tomorrow.

An effective vision of the future energizes the present by connecting our daily activities to our long-term objectives. Admittedly, this exercise plays out very differently depending on our stage of life. But young or old, we profit from a review of our goals for the future and imagining our world as we would like to see it. What do we need to accomplish to bring our vision to life? How can we prepare for the future we want? Dreaming of a desired future will not necessarily make it so, but not dreaming of it will definitely limit the possibilities of what will be.

APPENDIX – OUR TOOLS

1. Who Am I?

2. How Do I Impact Others?

3. How Will I Spend This Day?

4. What Is Happening in This Moment?

5. How Do We Become Our Greatest Self?

6. Stand Tall

7. Be Kind

8. Plan Ahead

9. Let Go

10. Choose love

Here you can downlad pdf sample.

© Rugger Burke, 2015