Over the past few weeks we have cover many topics, and continued the insight into our selves. In addition to the self-discovery topics of lesson 101 we built upon, re-visited, and incorporated them into lesson 201. As we grow, if we are lucky, we gain more insight into our thoughts and ourselves. We become more comfortable with the motivating factors behind our decisions. By now we should have a clearer insight into our thinking and decision-making process, a better understanding of how and why we do what we do, and some things to think about and reflect on. I have specifically wanted to challenge you to take a step back and look at yourself in another light. Far too often we all become too busy or consumed by our lives that we lose sight of what is important or who we really should be. I have had this happen numerous times and have found that every once and a while a ‘reality check’ is necessary. That was the purpose of the first two lesson plans. The first was to introduce you to yourself from a different perspective. The second was to introduce tools and concepts to further your understanding of yourself and the world around you. The tools are the best and most universal I thought everyone could utilize. From here on out we will have to rely on the lessons of the past to see the events of the present and implications of decisions on the future.
Life as we know it is very shot. There are times it will drag by, others it will fly by, but when we take stock of our lives we will realize it was short and most of the things we thought mattered at any particular time may not have mattered at all. Due to life being so short there are things we need to do and realize. One of the most important is the golden rule. We must treat those around us, especially those we dislike as good or better then we expect to be treated. For if we do not live by, foster, or promote this philosophy we are condemning ourselves and those around us to be treated like second class people only used to further a personal goal. Stress is a normal and inevitable part of life. It can save us from harm, or it can place us in an early grave. Most of the stress we face in a modern day reality is all self imposed. By realizing this and taking control of it we can become the master of our own ship and steer clear of the reefs of trouble we sail past every day. Don’t sweat the small stuff; take care of the big things and the smaller things will fall into place. We must realize we are all mortal, we will die and much sooner then we want to. Knowing this and accepting it are two different concepts. By accepting this and coming to terms with it we can fully live and appreciate life. Live for the day, if you want to do something, really do something then don’t put it off; plain, strive, put the gears into motion. If you do not grab the ring when it is in sight, you may not get the chance later and you do not want to live always wondering what if. Too many Americans especially live beyond their means. We seem to be inspiring to an unachievable lifestyle goal. I must sit back and say why? The only people we need to impress are ourselves. We waste too many resources in a world where too many have too little to live. We humans are unique in one very special point. We are not born pre-programmed with the tools to survive. We have developed resources to take this burden off our genetic structure and devote resources to other places in our development. Libraries are the greatest achievement since tools, architecture and farming. For they hold the information, knowledge, and insights of centuries of those before us. Before we go out and re-invent the wheel we need to stop by the library and ensure we are on the right track and aren’t dooming ourselves to past mistakes and failures. Learning how to use a library is vital and the best thing a modern person can learn, because from there we can teach ourselves anything we can imagine.
Within this life change is the only constant we will ever know. People will come and go in our lives and therefore we can only count on one person to take care of us, ourselves. Too many in the past have counted on their parents, best friend, spouse, siblings, or whomever to take care of them. This will not do. People grow old, die, get married, move, get a life not concerning you, or change their minds and decide to go a separate ways. The only constant you can count on in life is ‘where ever you go… there you are’. Take care of your self, only you know what truly makes you happy, it up to you to make sure you are where you need to be to be happy, healthy, and in an environment of growth. In our materialistic society it is easy to become overwhelmed trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal. We must resist the temptation in order to allow ourselves more opportunities in the future. There is supposed to be struggle, strife, and hardship in life, but it is better to live through it now and enjoy life later on then to be older with children, broke, and with 15 to 20 year old stuff that has limited our financial future and is worthless. People take things for granted, that is just a fact of life. We forget where we came from and how we got where we are. We are forward thinking animals, as all animals are. As Americans though we have the perception our way is the only way. We cannot imagine people being happy without the accoutrements we have learned to accept as ‘normal’. We do not need electricity to live, be happy, enjoy ourselves or those around us. We do not need most of what our culture tells us we need. Our culture and society has become spoiled, and like that one kid at the birthday party we expect everyone to see things through our eyes and be like us. It is better if they are not. We are not the supreme authority on anything on this hunk of spinning rock, we should not act like it. We will encounter many types of people in our lives, we can learn something from all of them. There are groups we need to avoid, and don’t need to figure this out the hard way either. Those people who are needy and will cling onto you are just like those drowning in a pool. If you risk yourself to save them you will find they will kill you so they may live, and in nearly all circumstances will kill you both. People have to learn how to take care of themselves. You are not doing anyone a favor by being their knight in shinning armor. You are only facilitating their dependency on going through life without any sense of self or achievement. One of the most useful and fun tools in psychology and sociology is that of body language. It can tell us the truth behind voice of people. Those hearing the debate between Kennedy and Nixon knew Nixon had won, he was spectacular, but those who saw it… saw how nervous and indecisive Nixon really was. Because so few people even know the basics on body language we will have the upper hand by learning it. It will serve us well, and for the most part is as universal as laughter, crying, shyness, and interest. By knowing this nonverbal communication skill we will not only be able to read the truth of others, but we can convey what we want to convey.
As with many things in my life, it is rooted in old southern logic and common sense. My first boss told me once after catching me slacking off that he did not care too much what I did as long as I was doing something. Living your life with purpose is very similar. You do not need to map out your life or plan and goal it like a list, that will never work. However living you life with purpose is different. Do each thing you do with purpose. Everything you do is a reflection of your character, and it shines through… either good or bad. At the end of the day, or when you pull out that picture album, or when you call that old school time buddy you do not want to think of all those things you did not get to. The past is the past and you must let it go. If there is something you want to do, see, go, try then by all means do so. The events of the last five years have surely placed a huge explanation point on how short and tragic time can be for us. Prepare and start to do those things, some of your ideas will seem bad and you will give up on them, this is normal and ok. The point is you tried and know you did your best and decided to mark it off the list. No regrets. With all the things we own, they have begun to own us. We have become overly dependant on technology. As more people live in cities then in rural areas the arts of survival are being lost. For all the conveniences modern technologies provide to us we must understand they can be taken away at any second by Mother Nature. Those in the aftermath of a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, forest fire will all tell you the power and humbling nature can do nullifying all technology can provide. We owe it to ourselves and future generations on how to survive if we were stripped from our wonders. On that note we need to be grateful for what we have. Americans have more wealth, luxury, opportunities, and rights then any other peoples in history. We do not need to take any of this for granted. Of the entire population on the planet we live better the 90% of the rest. So we need to not wine if our microwave, cell phones, laptops, or ipods don’t work. It is easy to get used to these convenient luxury items and come to depend on them always being there. We did fine with out them in the past and many will not ever see or even think about the things we use every day. Don’t take this for granted. As we go through life we see and learn many things. One of those is that good and evil do exist. Of the battle there are three states, good, neutral, and evil. No person is capable of being purely any of these. We are all capable of doing anything form any side if pushed hard enough. We need to remember it is not a good ideal to flirt with something we are not. Playing with evil when you are mostly good is like playing with fire. I believe people are mostly good, and want to do good. We all know the difference but we chose according to what we can live with. We need to be able to identify the roles and stay away from those we do not belong.
We have covered a lot of ground when you look back at it. This is just the beginning, and a good start. After we have figured out who, what, and why we are we can move on to the next phase… figuring out what its all about. We now have the basic tools. I hope you have enjoyed these lessons. More advanced ones are to come, but all future lessons are unformatted. I wish all of you well and hope to see you in the future. Life is random and I have learned it is better to roll with the punches, be fluid and dynamic, keep your head on a swivel. Future posts will be in this format, interjected along with observations on topics of the day.