“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.—2 Timothy 1:7

Last week’s column was entitled “Embracing Spiritual Abundance”. I received an above average number of responses to the column; some may have predicted this. All of these were complimentary and inspiring and one respondent conveyed “May the blessings of Our Father make you rich and add no sorrow indeed for not only you, but our beloved Barbados for 2014 and beyond!”

Other comments were: (1) “As we move into the New Year, there is so much to be grateful for and to reflect on. I have been giving a lot of thought to so many things as we close out 2013 and your words here are a confirmation of many of the things in my heart and on my mind”; and (2)”May God continue to grant you all the things you desire.  We are praying for a brighter 2014 – more support, more tolerance and more co-operation between us. Keep the thought-provoking, informative letters coming”.

If “Embracing Spiritual Abundance” is seen as the Vision, then what Action is required to aspire to this Vision? What is the key that will open that door and put us on a path of recovery which begins the journey to sustained success? We all have the opportunity to be students of life. We should learn continuously and should apply what we discover to our daily activities. Conscious of our physical and spiritual well-being, we must develop constructive habits and routines that promote transformation and we should expect to experience positive results. I put it to you, that Self-Discipline is the key to growth. As we adopt good habits, through discipline, we shall reap the benefits of good health, peace of mind, and abundant living.

Whether we are: employees about to be laid off because of a down turn in the economy, entrepreneurs in the making, entrepreneurs (with start-up, surviving, established, branching out and expanding businesses), shepherds (life coaches and business mentors), investors, board members and national policy makers; we must become champions of self-discipline and in doing so our collective efforts will redound to the benefit of sustained economic growth. Self-discipline is not a hardship, it is the key to success.

One of the benefits of the holiday season is that there is a break from the routine and we attend gatherings of family and old friends, we meet new acquaintances and we are sometimes exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking. It was at one such gathering that I got into a discussion on complementary medicine approaches to healing the body and various experiences where individuals claimed stellar benefits from these therapies.  This stimulated thought and one thing led to another. The outcome is that my list of compelling authors and speakers who have directly or indirectly piqued my fancy has now been extended from Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer to include Thiery Cleric, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Hawkins, Leonard Horowitz, Zhivargo Laing, Bruce Lipton, Mary Morrissey, Natalie Nedwell, Miguel Ruiz, Eckhart Tolle and Joe Vitale.

My time each day is classified in three categories: (1) sleep and exercise; (2) work related activities; and (3) private (personal, family and recreational) and community service activities. Historically, I aimed to average eight hours per day per category, but there is evidence to show that the average for category 2 has diminished with the passage of time.  Each individual is obviously in control of the management of his/her own time and we should effect a distribution over the three categories to create maximum happiness for us and those with whom we are in constant contact. I shall have to make a paradigm shift to manage my time to include my expanded interests alluded to above.

There is a book published in 2008 by one of the above authors, Malcolm Gladwell, entitled “Outliers – The Story of Success”. As a statistician and biometrician, the title intrigued me, since in statistics an outlier is an observation point that is distant from other observations.  Also, the name Gladwell rang a bell. I rememebred that i had an English born mathematics teacher called Dr Graham Gladwell at UWI in Jamaica when I pursued my Mathematics degree between 1960 and 1963. I was very thrilled when I found out that Malcolm Gladwell was Graham’s son and his mother is Joyce Gladwell, a Jamaican-born psychotherapist.

In this stunning new book, it is reported that Malcolm Gladwell takes his readers on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. The report concludes. “Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate”.
Let us shed all pangs of cowardice, engender the spirit of power, love and self-discipline, so as to manage our time well and enjoy the journey to success.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org)