Serving as a senior executive in the area of healthcare IT business development; I often find myself searching for additional motivation and inspiration. That is not to say that I am not driven by loyalty to my company and obligations to my wallet. I have always been able to keep myself intently “in the game” when it comes to work. Still, every now and then we all have to search for a quote, or a set of words, that will rekindle the fire of our professional drive!
A few days ago, I found myself in need of wise words to kick-start my week. I always like to search for quotes by using a few key words and seeing what the search engine drops into my virtual lap. On this particular morning, I chose to enter the words “generosity” and “life.” I then qualified the search a little further by adding the word “quotes.”
I have always been a strong proponent of the thought that “what goes around, comes around.” For me, generosity has always been a way to pay forward in a positive fashion. Besides, it does not hurt to make regular deposits in your bank account called “life.” You never know when you might have to make an unexpected withdrawal.
As I scanned the results on my computer screen, I came across a number of familiar listings. It seems that no matter what words I enter; I always end up with Bartlett’s and a few other tried and true sources of quotes. On that day however, I was looking for something a little more off the beaten path.
It was then that I saw a result referring to something called the “Havamal” and further qualified as “Viking quotes.” Curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on the website link. Now I have to admit, I have never thought of first millennium Norsemen as great philosophers or bards by any means. The mention of Viking creates pictures of long ships and violent and brutal conquest. I was soon to find that my preconceived cultural notions were gravely mistaken.
As it turned out, I was introduced to the Havamal; which translated from the early Norse language means “Sayings of the High One.” I then learned that the words within the work had originally been attributed to Odin, the principal Norse deity of the time. As I scanned the numerous quotes, all in poem form; I realized that this was a Ninth Century book of Viking wisdom. In fact, it almost appeared to be a manual on how to live life right!
“Generous and brave men live the best!” The words jumped at me from the computer screen. It was so simple and yet so profound at the same time! Generosity is the most selfless act that any human can perform. To give of ourselves, either physically, mentally, or spiritually; is to share our gifts with the all of humanity.
There is a risk whenever we open ourselves up to the world. Will we be judged or misunderstood? Will others see us as weak and take advantage of us? Will we be the lesser for having made the effort. Therein lies the reason for bravery. If we are brave enough to share of ourselves, regardless of the consequences; we will truly experience all the best aspects of life! We will connect with all others, and in so doing become a part of the whole called the human experience.
I have a habit of posting my newfound inspirational quotes on a whiteboard in my office. Every time I turn around from my desk, the words are there to motivate me. My colleagues also draw inspiration from the posted quotes, and many times we end up discussing the deepest meanings of the words scrawled on the whiteboard. In a way, it is my own interpretation of being generous and brave at the same time!
My perception of the Viking culture has definitely changed. Yes, they were barbaric invaders who unleashed incredible brutality on much of the world. But it also has become apparent to me that they answered to a higher power. There was a code of conduct and expectations for how life was best lead. It really is a great contradiction; and yet I find myself admiring the more gentle side of the Ninth Century Norseman!
Each of us makes conscious choices as to how we will lead our lives. What is the greatest gift that we can share with others? It is simply ourselves and the unique gifts that each of us possesses. How do we go about sharing with the world? We each have to find the courage to open up, to seek others to share with, and to give of ourselves no matter how our brave generosity is received!
So, where will my newfound knowledge take me next? I am pretty sure that my next search for motivational quotes will include the word “Huns!”