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Time is all we have. If we do not make the most of this time or at least put it to good use then we lose all we have. When someone steals your time they steal the most important thing you have. I first saw this in social work when I was working with the aged, blind and disabled. Those that did not do more or less what they wanted to do became very bitter.
Poverty has no virtue. To live like a martyr does nothing – going without food and necessities on purpose is a foolish move. Starvation may cause hallucinations but it brings no insight.
Wealth also has no virtue. Starting from may college days I observed that people with excess wealth compensate for it by lack of drive and purpose. It is human nature to lean toward the secure. I remember a quote from John Steinbeck that said the rich miss out on life’s little gems. The excessively rich may not miss out they just do not pay attention. Those ‘little gems’ give me immense satisfaction.
As we grow and age we change. Some more than others. No one told me when I was growing up that there were any changes after finishing school and getting a job. My perception was the stepladder career approach was boring so I avoided it. I have met more unhappy doctors and lawyers than happy ones.
Possessions should matter less. Relationships more. I once worked in a corporation where we joked that the boss would go home at night and hug his Rolls Royce because he was so nasty he could not find a person to hug. Thoreau said something like possessions possess the possessor.
Others care less about you than you think – especially those that are not close family or friends. People do not generally sit around worrying about what you are doing. If that is the case then why should status matter so much?
The true barometer is self. We have a built-in baloney detector. We can try to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise. If we keep trying to fool ourselves we become neurotic. Our mental perceptions do match to reality and the conflict can ruin a life. Severe trauma is the only real way I have seen to get out of the trap of neurosis.
Self-satisfaction is many times more important than how others perceive us. Those that deny their own self-satisfaction pay a heavy price as they age.
Laugh, laugh, laugh. If we laugh enough we can consider our lives a success.
Too much self-introspection can put your mind in a stew. The world does not revolve around you. By looking outside yourself you can find much to entertain and satisfy.
Curiosity can be the key. That was mine. When I understood that my curiosity was most important my fragile ego got tough and took a backseat. My interaction with people changed as well. They began to take me much more seriously.
Social Evolution can help make some sense of it all. When we look at the bigger context things take a bigger perspective. Remember that it took 15 million years for our ancestors to walk upright.
If I were to die right now, would I be satisfied with my life? Or would it be an unfilled hole? An excellent question. If we ask if often enough our priorities adjust appropriately.
Challenge and accomplishment can make or break a life. Those that are never challenged or accomplish little miss out. Period. Those that bottom feed or ask for handouts do not understand the destruction it can cause on a psyche. The difference between earning and being given can make or break a self-esteem. To pick a goal and achieve it is one of the highest satisfactions we humans can attain.
The net effect of our life has a direct bearing on how we measure our life. The poor farmer will go to the grave having had a more positive effect on humanity than the wealthy drug lord.