Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Lighthouse International Group is seeking to answer questions that have never been asked about human potential and what gets in the way. These meetings have been referred to online as 'endless sermons', here's the reality of why these daily discussions are needed.
Image credit - Stephen Isaiah @unsplash
I remember when my dad was teaching me to ride a bike. I was 7 years old and over the summer we went out endlessly. Time and time he would give me the same advice, the same support, the same coaching, picking me up when I fell over. He would say, don’t grip the handlebar too tightly… keep your feet on the pedals and most importantly ‘don’t look down!’
Why is this the start of my article? Because it is an example of the consistency, the work, the effort and the reinforcement needed to make a breakthrough, and the same principles apply in every area of our lives. This is the first thing I thought of when I read the anonymous posts written about my work at Lighthouse International Group, and in particular the derogatory description of meetings discussing the challenge we face in the world, the challenges we face as human beings and why we struggle to follow through as ‘endless sermons’.
I really wrestled with this, because I struggled to understand how discussions that have brought so much value into my life and that of others could be twisted and manipulated through this online vitriol. I felt an immense frustration, and also a sadness, and I have put a lot of work into feeling greater levels of compassion for those who would make comments like this.
What helped me was to think back to that time when I was a child… Did I appreciate the lessons spoken over and over to me by my dad? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I would think ‘I know what to do… Who are you to tell me over and over again?’... And I would keep saying this until he let go of the bike and I would fall off my bike until my face hit the floor. Being a child I didn’t know the work of Hermann Ebbinghaus, who became the first psychologist to systematically study memory and learning in 1885, concluding that '24 hours after learning something we forget two-thirds of it.'
As a child, I didn’t know the stories of pioneers who have made major breakthroughs because of endless repetitions of the same practices, over and over again. If those people who made these comments about ‘endless sermons’ at Lighthouse were around when Thomas Edison was inventing the electric lightbulb, I wonder if they would have been one of his many critics who trolled his work because of his ‘endless experiments’, over 10,000 failed experiments where he would ‘endlessly’ say the same things “every wrong result is another step forward”.
Because I didn’t know this as a child, I saw things that were essential to my ability to follow through and make meaningful changes in my life as ‘endless sermons’. Why? Because taking responsibility for things can be challenging and come with pain, realising things that I ought to have learned when I was younger is painful.
Why do I compare the pathology of someone who would use the term ‘endless sermons’ to that of a stroppy child? Why can I say that with such certainty? Because I have that in me! There have been many things I have learned and am still learning about myself through my mentorship and through what I have learned at Lighthouse that I have wanted to ignore, to ‘brush under the carpet’ so I wouldn't have to face in that moment, blinding myself to the fact that it is that very ignorance that has lead to the biggest times that I have hit my head against the floor as I did when I was learning to ride my bike and refused to listen to the repeated advice, wanting to believe my own story that ‘I know everything.'
One of the core problems we are addressing through our work at Lighthouse is the vacuum of character and competency in the world. As shared by our Head Mentor at Lighthouse Paul Waugh; "The vacuum that needs to be filled in the world and in ourselves and each other is seemingly endless, endless. Yet my capacity for 'sermons' are far from endless and your capacity to learn them and understand them and remember them are far from endless. Unfortunately they are not endless, but the vacuum that needs to be filled in terms of this world, in terms of character is".
To quote Dr. M. Scott Peck, one of the most highly regarded psychiatrists of all time in his book, The Road Less Traveled;
"There is a vacuum of competence in the world which must be filled. In a world crying out in desperate need for competence, an extra-ordinarily competent and loving person can no more withhold his or her competence than such a person could deny food to a hungry infant".
As human beings, we have the potential to achieve incredible things, but so many go through life with the feeling, or you could say the knowing deep down that there is more they could create and achieve… More happiness… More joy… More value in all areas, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially both inside your front door for your family and outside of your front door, for those suffering so much every day, like the 800 million children without clean water, to name but one area. What are the consequences of this? Of people never understanding and realising their potential? It can be seen everywhere you look, and one area that is particularly close to me from my own experiences is mental health, and the fact that rates of suicide, anxiety and self harm are increasing day by day.
So perhaps the key to responding to these challenges and recognising our endless potential as human beings is ‘endless sermons!’
You can learn more about what our research has discovered about what gets in the way of our human potential through our various social media platforms. YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest