As I sat in the waiting room of the medical office, my mind was trying to digest two often related subjects: success and influence. I was asking myself: What makes one influential? What lessons do they teach us and what lessons have they learned from society? Lo,and behold, my eyes spotted an old magazine with 10 Most Influential Women of 2012 on the cover. I picked it up and was curious to read about Selena Gomez, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Selena Gomez is a successful actress, singer, and fashion designer – and very rich. That is a lot of success especially in a society where success and influence are connected with material possessions.
As part of her mission of goodwill for UNICEF, advocating for children and education, she traveled to Ghana. In an interview, she recalls how she was amazed to see children with plastic bottles and a bunch of rubber bands, with which they made soccer balls. That was their entertainment and they were very happy. She thought of what it takes and how expensive it is to get us entertained!
She also learned another lesson: The only thing the children wanted was education. As a 20 year old herself, she remembered how she hated homework. But, there in Ghana, those kids loved education and homework – and that is all they ask for, and that is their joy.
I have written previously about a church group which went to a very poor part of Tanzania and was amazed at the joy that filled the people there. There are many similar stories from around the world, proving that it is within us, not without, to be joyful and happy. It does not depend on what we have or don’t have; it depends on who we are.
Think about this quote from Marianne Williamson: “Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”.