The Mandatory Curriculum

When you were born, you arrived hard-wired with two assignments. Nothing you have ever been – or will be – asked to do is of greater significance than these two assignments. Consciously or unconsciously, you have worked on these assignments every day since your birth, every hour – you work on them even when you are sleeping.  You will continue to work on them every day until you die. Your proficiency with these assignments determines your health and well-being, the quality of your relationships with friends, colleagues and loved ones, the quality of your relationship with yourself, and whether or not you leave this planet a better place than when you arrived.

Do you know what they are?

The First Assignment

The first assignment is to live.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it, a bit like permitting your heart to beat? Pause a moment, however, and look at this assignment more closely. What does the low end of living, survival, entail? Who on the earth is surviving?

At the high end of living we have thriving. Who do you know that is thriving? What are their circumstances?

The Second Assignment

The second assignment in The Mandatory Curriculum is to commune with others. This too sounds easy right? Think for a moment what it means for you to be around others.  How important is it? How important are relationships to you?

At the low end of communing with others, we ignore, judge, abuse, torture, and kill one another.  Who do you know that is ignoring someone today? Why are they doing so?  Who were the teachers that taught them how to get along with others? Who were the teachers that taught them communication and conflict resolution skills?

At the high end of communing with others we thrive personally and empower others to do the same. Who do you know that is thriving personally today and empowering also others?  What skills enable them to do so? Was the way they learned those skills accidental or intentional, passive or proactive? Does it matter?

(Excerpts from “Kissing the Mirror” by Marlaine Cover)