Reflection 365 – January 10. The source of strength

January 10. “Great Strength comes from within, not from without.” (Mark Bowser)

This quote troubles me just a bit. I grew up a Catholic, and I know that my strength comes from my Faith in God. I also know from personal experience that there is great strength in numbers. The adage “many hands make work light,” has been repeated by me often. So, a quotation that tells me that great strength comes from within, does not ring true.

I looked up the person quoted. Mark Bowser is a motivational speaker (his linkedin profile does not address whether he lives in a van down by the river). He has many accolades and a long resume. He does a lot of speaking to sales forces to help them be more successful. From reading things on his website, he is all about personal empowerment. So, it stands to reason that his take would say that great strength comes from within (after all, that appears to be his shtick).

I disagree on this one. I have tried in my life being the self-empowered ruler of the universe. I have tried taking on control of all situations around me and forging my way on my own. Every time I have taken that approach, I have failed. Only when I have realized the great strength in numbers have I succeeded. Whether that strength came from trusting and delegating work to my employees, or simply asking for help from a friend for a home project that was over my head, when I have reached out and asked for help, and not relied solely on myself, I have been surprised with my results.

My take on this is that each of us has a particular set of skills, and strengths. And when we all join together, the mosaic of our combined strength is more breathtaking than anything hanging in a museum.

I am not saying that fortitude isn’t important. Surely having the resolve to face difficulties is a skill to be nurtured in all of us. I see too many people in this world who do not take accountability for themselves, and are unwilling to face difficult situations. Where I differ is in how I measure great strength. For me, great strength is gained when I admit my weaknesses, and allow those around me to pitch in.

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