“Do not be selfish; do not try to impress others; be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” – Philippians 2:3

Last Sunday it was my privilege to address the gathering on the occasion of the 17th Anniversary Celebrations of the extended Springer Family.  My topic was “Who or What Am I?”  I set about to share the experience of my path of discovery in life to determine how each and every one of us can make a contribution to continued happiness for each of us and all those with whom we may associate.

According to influential Pastor A. R. Barnard, “Happiness is a way of mind and a way of life”.  It may be measured in terms of “socio-economic well being”.

The social behaviour of each individual impacts a family; each family impacts a community; each community impacts a nation; and each nation impacts the world.  So at any step in the process, if there is a weakness in the social behaviour of an individual, it will compromise the social fabric of the world.

In our current economic environment, where secure jobs are becoming scarce, many of us, if we are not already there, may be faced with the option of identifying or creating opportunities and converting them into commercial business successes. We may have to become entrepreneurs.  The collective entrepreneurial thrust of all individuals will have a positive boost on the sustainability of the world.

In both cases, the social and the economic, the success of the individual is important as we attempt to strive for socio-economic growth and ultimately happiness.  It makes sense then to ask “Who or what am I?”

I always travel around with a little card which says, “Especially for you” on the front cover. On the inside back cover it says, “This gift comes with love and all best wishes – Mummy”. The card has no date on it but my mother may have been motivated to give me this at a time in my life, say, 25 years ago, where she may have perceived that, nine years into my entrepreneurial experience, I needed some positive boost to keep me going amidst the ups and downs of business life.  Let us put it down to female intuition.

On the inside front cover of the card, she quoted the following three affirmations: I AM; therefore I CAN; therefore I WILL.  The last affirmation stated, “I WILL – results in the projection of our powers to the accomplishment of the desired objective”. She credited the essays of Thomas Townsend. So why not let us focus on these three affirmations.

Implicit in I am is – I am alive and well, and there are three things that we can practise in the context of preventive health. The one is good nutrition, the second is weekly exercise, and the third is peace of mind.

In Barbados, and indeed elsewhere, there is the temptation to eat food that tastes good. This usually means that is has a flour, salt, sugar and/or an MSG base. None of these ingredients, in excess, is good for us, yet we casually indulge with the consequences of obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer – all of which are preventable.

But all is not lost!  Try Derek Went’s Healthy Wentworx spices which replace the salt, sugar and MSG with natural spices to have the same positive impact on your taste buds – his motto is “Caribbean Spice for a Healthier life”.

As far as exercise is concerned, I have a daily programme but since I am sometimes delinquent on a daily basis I prefer to call it a weekly programme and my particular brand of exercise is walking and swimming, which both provide stimulation for the cardio-vascular system and keep many muscles of the body active.

It terms of peace of mind, which may also be interpreted as creating a stress-free environment, I have two protocols.  The one is positive belief systems which may be synthesized to four components: ambition, self-confidence, good relationships and emotional security. We may not always be 100% successful, but we must always regard this as the model to which we strive.

Also, as a human being, there are certain negative emotions which arise in the form of anger, fear, worry and guilt. These negative emotions are not productive and, hence, should not be allowed to fester for a moment. You have to say to yourself, “Manage the anger; do not let it manage you”. One should not fear except to fear God, this means striving for high levels of spiritual development. Then there is worry, indeed, an unproductive emotion. Why worry?  Finally, there is guilt.  If you have done something wrong; it’s done.  Be clever enough to try not to do it again. Pandering to guilt does not undo what is wrong, so why revel in a morass of guilt.   You have now established yourself – I AM!

Prepare yourself for the specific objective ahead through training and the gaining of experience. Prove to yourself than you can, one step at a time, select the direction and size of the next step based on what you have learned in the previous steps – I CAN!

The last step is the determination and persistence factor, the execution. Just do it – I WILL!

My proposition to you is to determine “Who or What Am I?” by following the affirmations of I am, therefore I can, therefore I will.