As many of you know, I immigrated to America six years ago. Both my parents were born and raised in Jamaica, so their knowledge of America’s inner workings was limited. Many people are surprised when they discover that I have only been in America for six years but, yet I have accomplished so much. The honest truth is that I have only been able to do everything that I have done because I was exposed to it. If you think about your life and everything that you have done, you should also be able to think about a time when you were exposed to it. Without exposure, we wouldn’t even know what is lacking in our lives.
Exposure determines elevation. The more that you are exposed to, the higher your potential for elevation. The last couple of months have been filled with many advancements, challenges, and reflections. I can honestly say that I am in an extremely better place today than I was a year ago. I am more joyful, fulfilled and calm because I have a new understanding of life. It’s because of this newfound understanding that my sole purpose at this point in my life is the manifestation of my destiny.
My overall purpose in life is to help as many people as possible to not only live their best life but to also become their best selves. It brings me incredible joy to be able to see someone evolve and attain their dreams. It brings me great joy when I am able to use my experiences as a classroom for others to learn from and then to see them flourish afterward. Even though my destiny is still manifesting, I have learned the importance of exposure. Without exposure, I would not be where I am today and that is why I want to share the following three points about exposure.
Be in the company of giraffes, not turtles
Your environment is one of the biggest determinants of your exposure. If you want to be purposeful then your environment should reflect your desires. One cannot expect to be in a negative environment and not be subjected to negativity. A major aspect of one’s environment are people and there are two types of people in this world: giraffes and turtles. The main difference between these two types of people is their vision.
A giraffe has a long neck and the turtle has a short neck. While giraffes are able to see treetops, turtles can only see the grass. A turtle will never be able to see what a giraffe sees because they do not have the same line of vision. A giraffe’s line of vision will always be greater than a turtle’s and it is the same thing with people. Not everyone in the world has the same line of vision and that is fine. There is nothing inherently wrong with being a turtle or a giraffe. A predicament is only created when someone with the giraffe’s line of vision is surrounded by turtles and such an individual is wondering why they aren’t progressing in life. It is commonly stated that if you are the smartest person in a room then you need to leave the room and that is the honest truth.
If you have a higher calling on your life and you want to be purposeful then you need to be surrounded by giraffes. People who can see where you want to go and help you get there. People who can expose you to new experiences that will lead you to a higher elevation in life. People who will support you and not those who will ridicule you. Before you can be exposed and elevated, your environment needs to be conducive to your growth.
Admire, don’t compete
Turtles can choose to be admire giraffes or they can choose to despise them. Turtles can choose to hate the giraffes for being at a higher elevation than them or they can learn from them. Turtles can choose to compare themselves or they can choose to honor instead.
And just like the turtle, we have a choice to either honor or compare as well. It is so easy to become envious of another’s success or prominence in today’s era which is filled with comparisons in every area of life. When you are exposed to a higher level, seek to honor rather than to feel intimidated. It sounds easy, but it was one of the hardest things for me to do especially when the person in question was my peer. I have always been a competitive individual and sometimes that desire to be the best can have adverse effects.
It had an adverse effect when my desire to be the best ruins a chance for cooperation and learning. It had an adverse effect when I tried to do everything by myself instead of asking for help when I really need it. It had an adverse effect when my pride got in the way of my advancement. Competition can be healthy, but it can also be unhealthy and in my case it was unhealthy. I have learned over the past year to admire and cooperate instead of competing and hate. I have learned that there truly is strength in numbers and that no one man is a village.
Because I learned to admire that which I am exposed to, I have been able to find mentors and supporters in my field. Mentors and supporters that have led to me being elevated higher than I previously was or have propelled me to heights that I didn’t even know existed. I have learned so much more about where I want to go, and I have attained a clearer vision of the path that I want to walk. But none of this would have happened if I did not humble myself and admired that which I was exposed.
Follow clouds not crowds
This sounds simple, but it is so important for elevation through exposure. To follow clouds is to follow the path that is aligned with one’s purpose and is leading to one’s destiny. To follow crowds is to follow the path that is aligned with societal norms such as popularity and is leading towards a false sense of belonging.
At one point in my life, I spent a tremendous amount of energy worrying about how many people were attracted to me or doing stuff that would make me more popular. My life at that point was guided by crowds. I was not doing things because they were purposeful but because I was comparing myself to others. I was comparing myself along the lines of popularity, physical attraction and sexual promiscuity.
When I started to follow clouds, I started to live a more purposeful life. I shifted my focus from pleasing others to advancing myself. Most importantly, I recognized the importance of myself and acknowledged the fact that I am wonderfully and fearfully made. I stopped listening to what people said about me and started to listen about what God said about me. Following clouds means to follow a higher entity than yourself. An entity such as God that is unwavering and not subjected to the unreliable norms of society. When we follow clouds, we live a life of purpose and a life in which our success is already settled. Following clouds means to live a satisfied life that is not dependent on the opinions of anyone but the one that is above you.