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by Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo

How many times have we asked ourselves the question, “Who am I?” At times when life feels more intense and our emotions are running stronger, this question tends to emerge. Summer brings with it a sense of freedom and heightened desire; we experience the beauty of being alive and active. That’s why it is a good time to look into the relationship between being, giving and having and that’s why an investigation of this topic will be part of the holiday homework we have decided to set each of you!


Reverse the equation

The modern world seems to suggest a standardized model that should give meaning to the existence of each one of us: you look around to see what you can take, or expect, to get what you want and appease the urges prompted by ambition. When your ego if finally satisfied, you can start thinking of giving to those around you and, by the end of your days, you may have acquired the wisdom to discover who you really are! This is the path followed by certain ruthless billionaires who at some point discover that they are philanthropists or maybe self-styled gurus, able to hand out easy tips on achieving happiness. Many of us connect being with having, and forget that:

“To have you must first receive, to receive you must first give and to give you must first of all be aware of the gifts you have.”

 Hence, the order of the terms of this equation must be inverted: start your holiday homework by asking, “What talents can I offer the world? What have I got to give?”

Positive fundamentalism

FIMG_3274inding an answer to the above question is a journey into self-awareness that can be long and complex and is definitely very personal. We will give you a hint to get started: begin from your roots. That means rediscovering your “inner child” by remembering the places, the people and the emotions that marked your growing-up, even when these were unpleasant. Reread your personal history with pride and compassion, accept yourself and focus on the experiences that were uniquely your own. Be fundamentalists in the most positive sense of the term, i.e. be fundamentally yourself and learn how to integrate your differences with those of others. Nature benefits from the differences that enable it to evolve and learn, and create new life. So follow these rules, plant your roots firmly in the soil of what you are, and let your branches meet with those you come across along the way. The next part of your holiday homework is to ask yourself, “How am I different from other people, and how do they differ from me? How can we integrate these differences?”

Accept and deserve

Alberto’s grandmother used to say that, “if you can’t accept, you don’t deserve”; a wise consideration that helps us to introduce the last step that will allow us to solve the equation between being, giving and having. Often what prevents us from reaping the fruits of our actions is our inability to receive. This seems absurd, but there are many more people who don’t know how to stretch out their hands than those who don’t know how to donate. Taking is, in fact, a very difficult act of trust because it implies acceptance and humility – and once again – awareness. Awareness of what? The gifts that you will receive! The ability to receive is linked to the ability to express gratitude. Being grateful means recognizing what we have: a very difficult thing to do, because every time we do so we must assume a great responsibility.

When someone says, “I received this gift”, they know inside themselves that they will then have to use it, to make the most of it. Indeed, it is their own responsibility and no-one else’s to gain benefit from the means and “talents” they have received. 

holiday homework

This is the reason why we often turn our backs and hide our hands, refusing to receive. We can’t accept to be happy and take on the responsibility that comes with it. Finish your holiday homework by asking yourself: “What am I receiving? What am I refusing to accept? For what can I be grateful?”

The summer is magic; so many poems and popular songs remind us of that. It’s a period that abounds with rituals celebrating our relationship with nature and natural laws: that’s the underlying meaning of bonfires on the beach, a walk through the mountains amid majestic peaks or an al fresco dinner under a starlit sky. We hope that the esoteric meaning hidden in the fun times you will share this summer may help you to understand the world that surrounds you and strengthen your understanding of the relationship between being, giving and having – and that the holiday homework we set you will help you along the way. If you succeed, try sharing your experience with others and help to develop the universal consciousness that binds us all together; in return, you will receive a renewed and profound well-being that will help you get back into your stride with a special enthusiasm when it’s time to return to work. In the meantime, have a great summer!

PS. Diario di un consulente is taking a break. We’ll be back on 29th August. You can still follow us on our Facebook Page.

partem claram semper aspice


Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo, a couple in life and work, are founders of the consulting and training company Passodue, which operates in the field of ethical sales and marketing.
Their publications and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines. In the US since 2013 they collaborate with researchers and professors on the topics of Business Ethics.

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