Use the Lotus Effect to Empower Yourself


  • Author Dennis Merimsky
  • Published February 22, 2009
  • Word count 666

Do you consider yourself a success or a failure? Thomas Edison said : "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Does this apply to you?

Scientists estimate that we use only 5% to 10% of our brain's potential. Most of us feel that we are subject to forces in our environment which prevent us from achieving self realization and from living a life of happiness, fulfillment and creativity. It is easy to blame our circumstances, our upbringing, our partner, our boss or countless other factors for our state of dissatisfaction but it doesn't help us to make a better life for ourselves. Why is this so?

Perhaps we need to learn a new way to look at our problems..

For thousands of years, the lotus flower has been famous for its cleanliness, a symbol of purity throughout Asia. This amazingly beautiful flower grows in muddy water. The muddier the water, the more the blossom shines. You might think that this is a romantic illusion. But in 1975, a botanist, Wilhelm Barthlott used an electron microscope to discover the real, scientific basis for the legendary cleanliness of the lotus leaves. Every lotus leaf is covered by tiny spikes to make a rough surface on which nothing sticks (not even honey). Dirt particles remain on the surface and become attached to drops of water which roll off the leaves. This means that the leaves stay dry and clean. Barthlott named this self-cleaning process the Lotus Effect and after twenty years of research, it has been effectively used to make self-cleaning outdoor paints, glass, sprays and textiles.

We human beings can learn from nature, how to apply the Lotus Effect in our own lives. The question is whether we allow our problems to stick to us like mud and weigh us down in negativity, or we transform the "mud" in our environment into challenges, so our lives expand and flourish as we bravely and successfully meet these challenges. If we have a clear picture of what we want to achieve in life and are highly motivated, the obstacles in our lives will be washed away, as we move forward with persistence.

Am I exaggerating? Thomas Edison wouldn't think so. He became deaf at an early age and quit school at the age of 12 where he had been labeled a misfit. Like everybody, he had a clear choice : whether to join the world's victims blaming the environment for their failure or whether to push forward with courage. Edison's deafness provided the motivation for many of his inventions and he became one of the world's greatest inventors, with 1093 US patents to his name. For example, he developed the first practical electric light bulb, the, phonograph and the alkaline storage battery. Responding to the idea that he had failed after ten thousand experiments to develop a storage battery, he is quoted to have said " If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

We don't have to be a famous inventor to make the lotus effect work in our lives .We just need to remember that our attitude to our circumstances is vital in determining our future. In order to effectively change our external environment - we must first change ourselves inside. In a way this gives us both complete responsibility, and to the same extent, completes freedom!

We are, after all, the key players in all our relationships. It follows that we should be able to deeply respect ourselves and our environment. We must understand : that the key to change begins with our internal relationship with ourselves, which will lead us to  a change in our surroundings.

Let us begin with renewed determination to try again.

This is well expressed by the following anonymous quotation.

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying: I will try again tomorrow."

Dennis Merimsky M.A. is the Managing Director of "Lotus Guidance for Change", writes articles and develop courses in self awareness, the process of change, values and Oriental philosophy. He is keenly interested in and writes about the connections between science and the human mind and plans and writes the material for the Lotus workshops. He also directs workshops on dialogue skills and the Earth Charter


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