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Railway Break: The Power of Being Present

· Life Lessons

Living in New York City (NYC) means the probability of taking the train at least once a month is likely. Public transportation has somehow been ingrained into the lifestyle of New Yorkers. Let's take an 8 am Monday, for example. It's very rare not to get frustrated as a result of fellow passengers bumping into you from multiple angles or yelling into your ear to make room for themselves. Or for their luggage. As a result, this strong negative energy permeates the air in a clustered train car, making the majority of passengers commence their week with a blemished outlook.

In obvious truth, living in NYC sternly teaches you about life. The aforementioned scenario encourages victims to assess their frustrations from different angles. Successful people - regardless of your definition of success - triumph because they always transform their frustrations into opportunities. Unsuccessful people choose to complain and react poorly. This slight tweak to viewing life could drastically position you to attain your highest potential. The story as follows portrays a recent observation during my train commute earlier this week...

...En route from Downtown Manhattan to Uptown, four African American men were singing a gospel hymn in a queue on the train. As they approached the back end of the train car, an African American woman – dressed in a black coat and black fedora – took out her purse. Based on the look on her face, there was no money in there so she quickly put it away.

Pause: The power of intention

The men noticed, however, her intention seemed to propel them to serenade her even louder.

Pause: The power of giving

Smiles blossomed from the cracks of my face. When they finished serenading, the woman asked, “Can you spare me some change? My house recently burned down and I am homeless."

Pause: The power of vulnerability

She did not finish her sentence when one of the men took out a dollar bill from his pocket and handed it to her. Then another.

Pause: The power of sacrifice

Then what I loved most is one of the two who didn't have money to spare said, “Jesus will fix it.”

Pause: The power of The Word

Ultra Pause: The power of conviction!

As soon as they stepped out, the one who offered no money or encouragement looked back and recommended a homeless shelter, the directions to it, and whom she should speak to.

Pause: The power of love

Now, that is the power of being human! As social beings, we ironically get caught up in our own complications, which forbids our souls from interconnecting with theirs of others. We forget that once we fill our lives with light, there is no way darkness can come in. Every journey in life comes with its pitfalls however, it is also accompanied by an unstoppable weapon; our innate ability to empower others.

Although we may navigate our personal journeys with the right thinking and approach, the challenges we face in our niche causes us to take several steps back. This results in one of two things; either we fall into the traps of yesterday or rise and try to reach the possibilities of tomorrow. That mentality is flawed. As Anthony Greenback said, "To live through an impossible situation, you don't need to have the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the muscles of a Hercules, the mind of an Einstein. You simply need to know what to do." Whatever you are struggling with, whatever challenges, someone has overcome it by being present and changed the world. That person may have empowered you. It is your turn to be present and pay it forward.

The story above shows that one should not be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness, it's clearly the greatest sign of strength. Furthermore, the story paints the picture that no matter your current circumstances, you are still in a position to uplift others. Empowerment does not need come in the form of materialistic objects. It could be a smile, it could be a conversation. The true secret to growing your power is to give it away. When you empower other people, you grow your impact and your influence exponentially. In metaphoric words, as your island of empowerment grows, your ocean of power grows with it. Love.

How are you empowering others to excel as you navigate your personal and professional journey?


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Jephthah Acheampong

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