“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelery!” John Lennon
I remember hearing ‘Hey Jude’ blaring from the speakers at school when I was a young boy. I was as much caught up in Beatle-mania as the next person. The ‘Fab Four’ totally turned the music world upside down with their vast array of melodies, clever lyrics and singable tunes.
They were dynamic, controversial, trendsetters, radicals, confrontational plus a whole lot more.
But even though I love the cheekiness – as represented in the above quote – of John Lennon, there is so much more that he shared with the world apart from his music. Therein lies a depth of wisdom that I would like to expand upon.
So let us explore together yet another side of the man that encouraged us all to ‘Imagine’.
1.”Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
It has been written that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Blink and twenty years will pass you by. Life is never a direct route. It weaves. It twists. It turns. But if you have a goal, a dream or a plan in place, it acts as a compass that keeps you on track, no matter what detours need to be taken along the way.
2. “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”
Nothing is ever wasted. I experienced nearly 26 years in my life that I call the ‘lost years’, and yet, even though my true identity was lost during that period, the lessons learnt were invaluable. Those years have supplied me with stories that I can now tell to help others to enjoy and prosper from their uniqueness.
3. “It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.”
Success is not restricted to culture, gender or heritage. Successful people rise up from every conceivable starting point. So we can never use our state of being as an excuse for never achieving great things. One person with a dream, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve that dream, makes it a level playing field.
4. “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
Dreams are no fun if you keep them to yourself. Dreams are to be shared. Dreams fulfilled are to be enjoyed by all. Whenever I succeed I celebrate it with my family and my friends. I get the greatest satisfaction from the spin-off of my successes and how they positively impact those whom I love.
5. “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
Reality plus a sprinkle of imagination turns that which seems impossible into something that is possible. If you can imagine it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it. Dare to be as a child once again and imagine by asking yourself the question, ‘What if?’ Then go do.
6. “If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”
To love and to be loved would have to be the greatest thing that I have ever experienced. In my darkest hours it has been the love shown to me that has sustained me and strengthened my resolve to press on.
And then there is peace. Solitude and the practice of solitude have constantly filled me with peace. It is the eye in the storm. It is the rock that stands firm. Peace has sustained me and refreshed me. And it is in this place that definitive and life changing decisions have been made to move me forward in life.
7. “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Not one of us can do it alone. Without friends, and the support of friends, we live in a desert. For friends are the oases. Friends are the refreshing. Friends lift us up when we are down. Friends believe in us when no-one else does. Friends are there in fair weather, and there when storms rage. Friends know when to speak and when to keep silent. Friends for life.
8. “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!”
Stop listening to what others say you are. You are what you are, and the older you get the more knowledgeable you need to become of who you really are. This is your road of self discovery. This is the unveiling of your uniqueness. This is the birth of self-pride – a healthy pride that is proud of what you have been created to be and to do. Listen to your inner voice and stand up tall knowing who you are.
9. “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
Joy. Happiness. Companionship. Define your life by the company that you keep and by the goodness that you can deposit into the lives of those around you. How do you measure the effectiveness of your life? Make it much more than what you can acquire. Measure it by what you can give.
10. “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”
Nothing happens by accident. There is an eternal plan for each of us, and even what appears to be the greatest mistake will in retrospect be the perfect piece of stitching embroidered into the fabric of your life. Someone once showed me the back of an embroidered piece of cloth. On the back it appeared as a tangled mess. But by turning it over a beautiful piece of handiwork was revealed. So too our lives.
11. “One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”
Angry people are angry with themselves. Unfriendly people don’t like themselves. How people act clearly reveals what is going on in the inside of their minds and hearts. People who love themselves have no difficulty in loving others. People who have no problem in forgiving others have forgiven themselves. As a man or woman thinks so he or she will speak. So turn to the cripple within your life and command – ‘Take up your bed and walk!’ Begin to live as the human that was created for greatness. You were never created to be an invalid. Healing is your portion and success is your right.
And for one final word from John Lennon, who was cut down in the prime of his life – “I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.”