Archive for June, 2018

The purpose/7

June.6. 2018

In the history of mankind, there’s one man, one man alone, who had figured out the secret of life.

He understood that it all comes down to energy.

Because energy is behind every action, every expression, every thought.

But there’s good energy and bad energy, and to live a fulfilling life (which he called the kingdom of heaven) you must expend good positive energy.

This was at the heart of his teaching.

If you want to be surrounded by love and goodness, you must treat your fellow men with love and goodness and this requires effort, which is just another word for energy.

If you want to realize your full potential and multiply your talents, you must put in time and effort, and this also means expending energy.

He was deeply aware of how the energy you sow today will be returned back to you in kind tomorrow.

And if you don’t use your energy, whatever you have left will be taken away from you.

But what energy are we talking about?

Certainly not physical energy, the kind you can measure and put in your automobile tank.

No, it’s energy that comes from your spirit.

Spirit as in when you’re full of life and spirit—when you’re filled with an inner energy.

The wise man knew that the key to a fulfilling life lies in your spiritual energy and how you nurture and harness it to produce a life of abundance (which is another word for fulfillment or the kingdom of heaven).

If you want to read more about how this spiritual energy operates, here’s a book you might find useful.

The Laws of Spiritual Energy

Of if you prefer the hard copy, you can get it here.

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Amazon.com

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The purpose/6

June.5. 2018

Continuing from the previous post.

The one thing that makes everything worthwhile.

What might that be?

Going back to the earlier ‘if you have a guitar, play it’ assertion.

Yes, there’re different ways to play the guitar.

You can play it at the basic level—maybe strum a few chords or pluck a few notes here and there—if that makes you happy, that’s good enough.

But you can also coax the most sublime melodies and harmonies from those same strings.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to learn how to do the former but to do the latter requires dedication and effort and time.

It’s the same with everything else.

You always have a choice, you can exist at the basic level or you can strive to go to the highest level.

One involves minimal effort, the other maximal effort.

So why do the latter when you can do the former?

Because effort and reward are tied together. The amount of effort you put into any activity is directly proportionate to its reward.

More effort means more reward, more reward means greater satisfaction, and greater satisfaction means greater fulfillment.

As someone once said, the reason we do something is not because it’s easy but because it’s hard, because hard produces greater reward and consequently greater fulfillment.

This is just one perspective. You may disagree and that’s fine too.

The purpose/5

June.5. 2018

There’re as many approaches to living a fulfilling life as there are people. And no one is to say that one is better than the other.

If what you do gives you a fulfilling life, that’s the only thing that matters.

My own approach has always been to ground it all on hard reality.

The reality of having to pay bills every month, paying taxes, getting to work on time every day, meeting all my deadlines, doing the yard when the grass gets high, dusting the house, clearing the cobwebs, and all the other menial things of life.

Why is this important?

Because if you don’t take care of this stuff (which can best be described as the business of life), you’ll end up wasting time and energy, fighting the resulting resistance.

Resistance as in, if you don’t pay your taxes, life could get complicated and you’ll waste valuable time and energy working with the taxman.

Some people of course thrive on complications, (such as the current No-Collusion guy on Twitter), but I prefer to travel with the wind on my back, which means as little resistance as possible.

After the business of life (which you might call the material side of life) are the relationships of life (which you might call its spiritual side).

And these too require constant maintenance, failing which you might find life not so fulfilling.

One of my mother’s favorite sayings is “More things more trouble” to which I would add “More friends more trouble.”

This will make more sense with another saying of hers, “Got come got go.”

(You might notice these sayings are all four words in length. It’s a peculiar characteristic of many Chinese sayings, like “Long time no see.”)

“Got come got go” means that if you want things to come in, first they must go out. In other words, all relationships are based on mutual benefit.

This is another real life story. I once knew a guy who was all about himself. He didn’t care much for others. His was the classic case of looking out for number one.

Life was fun, until one day when he found that he wasn’t so attractive any more. The old charm was still there but he didn’t have what it took any more.

So yes, you might think being alone is good now, but to be old and alone is not as much fun as you may think, and probably not very fulfilling.

(Which brings to mind the current epidemic of loneliness. Maybe caused by the other epidemic, that of looking out for number one?)

Finally the third compartment.

The reason why I prioritize taking care of the first two compartments, the business of life and the relationships of life, is so I can pursue this third compartment of life.

All three compartments provide fulfillment, but none more so that this third compartment, which is the source of fulfillment itself.

It is the one thing that makes everything else worthwhile.

The purpose/4

June.1. 2018

A fulfilling life means a life lived fully, in every sense of the word.

This means experiencing it in all its beauty and wonder, all its ugliness and squalor.

Because this is what life is all about.

Beauty and ugliness, wonder and squalor, good and evil, truth and lies, joy and sorrow, happiness and pain, these all describe the reality that is life.

(This may sound philosophical but trust me, there is no philosophy here, just the hard facts of life.)

And the ability to live life to its fullest involves embracing them all.

Otherwise you’ll be missing out.

You’d be like old King Midas who wanted to experience only one experience.

Take beauty and ugliness.

Life would be a living hell if we’re only surrounded by beauty. Or if all we experience is joy. How boring and unfulfilling would that be.

(True, in the heat of the moment, sometimes it’s hard to accept this reality.

If all you see is pain and ugliness, no one can blame you for wishing that life should only be happy and beautiful.)

The inability to accept the reality of life sometimes leads to denial. It leads to wishful fantasizing.

It allows conmen to fool you and manipulate you.

It is the reason why religions exist to exploit you.

It is why some people choose to live a life of forgetfulness, drowning themselves in addictions, as opposed to a life of wakefulness, where you’re experiencing life in all its glory.

That’s of course a personal choice.

Whether you prefer to live in denial or in self-fulfillment.

The purpose/3

June.1. 2018

You might think of life as a journey (yes, another well worn cliché which you’ve probably heard of many times before, but bear with me) that takes you from one place to another.

Temporally and sometimes physically too.

Every journey has two basic components.

First, a destination, then the means to getting there.

The destination is usually not a problem. (If it’s a problem, then perhaps you should stop reading right now because none of the following will make sense.)

The means to getting there is usually the problem.

Because it requires three essential elements, absent which will mean certain failure.

First, it requires energy which we might call the engine component (the engine is anything that generates power to drive you forward).

It requires knowledge of the way to getting there, which we might call the navigator component.

And finally it requires a control mechanism that coordinates all this and gets you there, something we might call the captain component.

Yes, you got the analogy, it’s like a boat which you have to navigate it through calm and treacherous waters.

So if you want to reach your destination, better make sure you have a captain that will ensure that what needs to get done is done.

A navigator who will steer you through rough waters and away from rocks.

And most importantly a means to propel yourself forward.

Simple premise, and absolutely critical to living a fulfilling life.

Because fulfillment implies getting to your destination, whatever it may be.

The purpose/2

June.1. 2018

To live a fulfilling life, to live your life to its full potential, you have to know two things.

First, in the real world, you count for absolutely zero. This may dent your ego a bit but the truth is, no one really cares about you.

You may want to believe they do but they don’t.

The only person people care about is themselves (and people here include you, even if you don’t know it.)

You may say this is an overly dark assessment of human nature but take these scenarios to see how truly altruistic you are.

Suppose you have a neighbor who’s constantly throwing trash into your yard.

Would you continue to let them do it? If you truly care for them yes, you would. After all, they have to get rid of their trash somehow.

Or perhaps there’s this guy in school or at work who’s constantly picking on you.

Would you just put up with it? After all he’s got to let off steam somehow and if that means picking on you, your super altruistic nature would say yes to this one too.

Or perhaps you know someone who’s so full of themselves, all they do is talk about how great they are all day long.

How long will you continue to stand there and listen to them? If you’re truly altruistic, you wouldn’t mind doing it. After all, you got nothing better to do with your time.

Yes, these are simple examples, but they show one thing.

At the end of the day, we’re only concerned about ourselves and our self interests.

This has one big implication.

If you want a good fulfilling life, you must always consider the impact of your actions on the other guy.

Not because of your good nature but because you care about how they respond to you—because how they respond will affect your ability to live a fulfilling life.

And this leads to the second thing you need to know.

There’re only two kinds of impact—the positive kind and the negative kind.

The positive kind produces good outcomes for others and the negative kind, bad outcomes for them.

Again, this is simple to demonstrate with our earlier scenarios.

Understand that if you throw trash into your neighbor’s yard, they will not be happy and they will respond in equally negative ways.

If you pick on someone at school or at work, they will not be happy and you might even lose your job, which is not a fulfilling thought.

Or if you’re so full of yourself and all you do is talk about how great you are, people will start avoiding you and soon you will have no friends.

Here’s another example (a real life one actually).

I once had a grumpy colleague. He was not the most pleasant person to have around.

You would say good morning to him and he would simply shrug and walk by without even acknowledging you.

(Amazing, but these self centered individuals do exist.)

It so happened that the chair of the department wanted to resign, and this guy, whose contract was also ending, wanted the job, badly.

Well, you can guess the blow back.

No one wants a grumpy guy, especially not in a supervisory position.

He might be a legend in his own mind, and he might think that he didn’t have to be nice to anyone. Well, life has a funny way of returning your negative energy back to you.

So not a very fulfilling outcome for him.

These are the two simple truths you need to know to live a fulfilling life.

First, people do not care about you; they only care about themselves, which means you have to care about the impact of your actions on others.

Second, there’re only kinds of impact, positive and negative.

Knowing these two truths will enable you to master your destiny.

You get to control what happens to you tomorrow by carefully controlling what you do today.

Being in control means you have no one to blame for what happens to you but yourself.

This is the ultimate in self empowerment.