When you are grateful,
fear disappears and abundance appears.
~ Tony Robbins ~
As an organizer, I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be — it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be.
— Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals —
Daily Touch of Inspirations
December 24th: Meaningless... like a fine wine
Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living
Happiness Doesn't Care How You Get There- Part 2
Yet following the majority as they look for happiness in all the wrong places is insane. Understand that happiness doesn't care how you get there. It doesn't care how hard you work. Nor does it care whether you wear designer clothes or how fancy your car is or how many possessions you have. Moreover, happiness doesn't care how beautiful, talented, or intelligent you are.
Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.
~Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom
Indeed, in today's consumer society advertisers and the media dictate what people are supposed to want. Many people consume this programming greedily instead of stopping to question what will truly make them happy. After all, it is much easier to try to fit in with the majority than to question what the majority is doing.
The Day Bart Simpson Prayed
Lee Strobel, What would Jesus Say
Bart wasn't doing well in the fourth grade. When he flunked his book report on Treasure Island because he only knew what was on the cover, that was the last straw. His teacher called a meeting with Bart's parents and the school psychiatrist, whose conclusion was that Bart repeat the fourth grade.
Bart was horrified! "Look at my eyes, he said. "See the sincerity? See the conviction? See the fear? I swear, I'll do better!" After all, nothing's worse to a ten year old than being held back in school.
But Bart hatched a plan. He made a deal with brainy student name Martin. He'd teach Martin how to be cool if Martin will help him pass his next American History exam. That final test was monumentally important because if he passed it, Bart would be allowed to graduate.
Bart did teach Martin the fine points of being cool- how to burp on command, how to spray paint graffiti on garage doors, how to shoot a slingshot at unsuspecting girls. And sure enough, Martin became the most popular kid in school- so popular, in fact, that he didn't have time to help Bart study.
Now picture this: It was the night before the big test. Bart was sitting at the desk of his room, staring at an open book, trying to study, when he came to the chilling realization that it was too late. He couldn't cram enough into his head in one night to be able to pass the test. Finally, his mom peeked into the room and said, "Its past your bedtime, Bart."
Slowly, Bart closed his book. With the exams hours away, it seemed like all of his options had evaporated. That's when he got down on his knees next to his bed and prayed to God.
"This is hopeless!" he said. "Well, Old Timer, I guess this is the end of the road. I know I havent been a good kid, but if I have to go to school tomorrow, I'll fail the test and be held back. I just need one more day to study. Lord, I need your help! A teacher strike, a power failure, a blizzard- anything that will cancel school tomorrow. I know it's asking a lot, but if anyone can do it, you can. Thanking you in advance, your pal, Bart Simpson."
The scene switched to an outside view of Bart's house. The lights in his room went out. It was cold and dark. A few moments passed, and then a single snowflake gently fell to the ground. Then another. And another. Suddenly, there was a virtual avalanche of snow; in fact, it was the biggest blizzard in the city's history! The "Hallelujah Chorus" swelled in the background.
The next day, school was cancelled. Bart fought the temptation to go sledding with his friends, and instead studied hard. Then the following day, when the time finally came for the test, he gave it his best shot, but he came up one point short. It looked like he had failed- until at the last possible moment, he miraculously scored one more point and squeaked by with a D minus.
Bart was s happy that he kissed his teacher as he scampered out the door. Homer was so overwhelmed that he posted Bart's paper on the refrigerator and said, "I'm proud of you, boy."
To which Bart replied, "Thanks, Dad. But part of this D minus belongs to God."
Be careful with your heroes: Don't put any of them on a pedestal
quipped American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. The ultimate tragedy, is the vast majority of modern hero- worshipers in the Western world who revere false heroes. So much so, that hero is one of the most misused words in English language.
As a matter of course hero today is mostly applied to people who do well in sports or in financial world or in show business and have gotten a lot of publicity. Unfortunately, the modern American hero is somebody whom we adore, respect, worship, or idolize for all the wrong reasons. With this in mind, it's the best to be careful with your heroes. Don't put any of them on a pedestal. After all, no one- even a true hero- deserves to be there.
Granted, there is nothing anything basically wrong when we admire celebrities of sports and popular culture, such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfield, David Letterman, Mick Jagger, and Celine Dion. These people have been creative and extremely successful in their own right. Nevertheless, spending too much time and energy that could be used in attaining significant accomplishments ourselves.
The core matter is that there seems to be a totally unwarranted, yet broadly accepted belief by the public that modern heroes are larger than life. Given enough time, however, most sports celebrities, movie stars, singers, and politicians end up displaying behavior that astonishes even those who have looked up to them. On the extreme are those pop idols with character flaws so serious that they would make the Devil proud.
Another dark side of modern hero- worshipers is that most live their lives vicariously through their false heroes. If you are living vicariously through a false hero such as a rock star, what does this say about your own character? Shallow, or even deficient, wouldn't you say? Undoubtedly, you are telling yourself that you are not good enough yourself as a human being- not proud of your own accomplishments in life, in other words. Living vicariously through gurus, sports celebrities, and movie stars limits you from creating the life that you want.
There is one thing of which you can be certain. A true hero does not live vicariously through someone that he or she admires. So what constitutes a true hero? Hungarian revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth concluded,
Based on this measure, true heroes know how to steer past major obstacles, jump over some more, and blow up even more as they proceed toward their own definition of success. Even so, a true hero is not infallible. He makes mistakes. He sometime falters. He may even stop accomplishing for a period of time but he never gives up to make this world a better place to live.
The true heroes are those people who have overcome hardship and made a significant contribution to this world are never given any publicity by the media. For example, Father Bob McCahill rides his run- down bicycle through the streets of Bangladesh helping the sick who are too poor to visit a hospital. Individuals such as Father McCahill who work with the street people of this world are doing incredible work. Unfortunately, we seldom, if ever, hear or read about them in the media. These people would make much better role models for the youth and adults alike than today's spoiled sports celebrities and movie stars.
All told, even the most accomplished and well- mannered heroes shouldn't be idolized. It's inspiring and constructive and rewarding to use them as role models- but don't live vicariously through them. They have their insecurities and they have their problems.
No human being is worthy of excess esteem from others. Truly self confident individuals can admire the accomplishments and success of another person, but they don't think anyone is superior to them. They also know that the belief in the superiority of heroes can limit their own power to attain what they want out of life.