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The Measure of Responsibility

The Measure of Responsibility

Moderation in All Things

Moderation in All Things We need moderation in all things—even in our virtues. It is good to have a sense of responsibility, but if carried too far it will destroy our peace.

No man can carry the world on his shoulders. Our responsibility is limited by our capacity. Even our own private world often presents problems, which we cannot readily handle. A person must do his best under all circumstances, and leave the rest to God. When we have done this, we should be content. The outcome is not in our hands; and we cannot assume responsibility for it.

Some of us feel that it is incumbent upon us to safeguard our future, or the future of our children. We want to make plans that will reach far ahead into time and build round our vital interests a fortification, which will make us impregnable to circumstances. In addition, when we discover that we cannot do so, we become disturbed with a sense of insecurity.

Some of us have committed our energies in the service of some good cause, which has come to possess us. We would like to transform the world into the image of our ideal, but we find ourselves frustrated. The world will not listen, will not understand. Then, we may retreat, broken hearted by defeat, or we break ourselves, trying to do the impossible.

However, a man’s responsibility does not extend to such extremes. We were meant to live with a measure of uncertainty. We cannot provide for tomorrow in tomorrow’s entirety. When we have done the best we can, we must have faith that He Who gives us a new day will also give us the sustenance thereof. And we must have faith too that the cause which is so dear to us will not necessarily fail because at present the world appears indifferent to it. There will be others who will try again, another day.

You are not free to desist from the work; but it is not incumbent on you to finish it

Narrowly Defined Customization and Academic Freedom

Narrowly Defined Customization and Academic Freedom Unable to compete with the propinquity of television, cable and then the Internet, newsmagazines have been moving for decades in the focus of analysis, commentary and news-related feature articles. The whole chronicle of humankind shows, that spiritual belief is no inconsiderable rationale of action. In other words, should be flat. An instrument of this kind might be utilitarian in kitchens, to reflect, and thus double the heat of their fires. In this, as in all the rest, we have only to increase the space between the strength and property, to give the man that works the tool greater power: the cause has been already explained at large. Friendships were formed with the other volunteers and master archaeologists as we divided up lunch in the field and dinner at the campground, swapped stories and discoveries, and studied the scientific method and natural history. Journalist Vanessa Spedding writes,

If we belong somewhere, we feel nourished and safe, naturally ourselves, free to receive and to give. If we belong somewhere we are in a relationship with the place and its inhabitants: we develop a sense of affection for it, love even. If we belong somewhere, as Paul Kingsnorth says, we will defend it.

Belonging can provide armory against the heartless travesties of exploitation and destruction meted out by the indifferent, detached institutions and processes of profit and development. Belonging, then, can form the basis for peace, equanimity, and the sustenance of life.

Such narrowly defined customization is of course inconsistent with academic freedom, but exclusively in line with political correctness. The reality is that for many of us family was the incubator of desperation rather than the dependable, nurturing harbor the myth promised. In beautiful nature no capture can they find, the pleasures they follow a sting leave behind. Time unquestionably makes more of a remainder for remedial tasks. How the old man may know he is in health? Those who drink a great quantity of tea, and are regardless in the making it, using a bad kind, and drinking the last dishes cool and palled, will emphatically weaken their stomachs: but this is not the case with such as are more careful. I would not want to be an optimist because when I fell I would fall such a frightfully long way.

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Posted in Business and Strategy Philosophy and Wisdom

Books: Delights for the Heart and Mind

Books: Delights for the Heart and Mind

Books are Human Too

Books are Human Too Did you ever pause to marvel at the telephone, the phonograph, or the radio? I do not mean the intricate mechanism by which these devices operate, but the marvel of the service they render. These inventions enable you to escape from the limitations of time and space, so that you can hear and see people who are not physically present. Books are like that too. They are a recording of what some of the world’s greatest masters have to say to us.

We cannot bring back to life a Moses, an Isaiah, a Lincoln, or a Spinoza. Yet these great people can still speak to us; reveal to us some of their innermost thoughts, by means of the printed page. A book enables you to roam freely in space and time and enter the company of the greatest people who walked this earth.

Some of us are afraid of great people, lest they are superior to us and we are unable to feel at home in their presence. For the same reason many of us shy away from great books, but when you get to know them, great people are human. It once took a little girl great courage to ask Albert Einstein to help with her arithmetic. He not only agreed, but they began a firm friendship.

Books are human too. Not all books can entrance you with the very first page. You have to give them time. You have to live with them, and read them. Allow them to develop their thoughts. Gradually you will fed their power and fall in love with them. The treasures of the printed page are like the treasures hidden in the earth, you have to do a little digging before you can bring them up to the surface.

Some of the greatest delights for the heart and mind can come to you through books. If you have no books in your home, then bring them in. Every book is a window on the world, so why live in die dark when you can reach out for the light? In addition, if you have books in your home, resting on the shelf, take them down and use them; don’t let them collect dust. Books can be great friends. Take them with you on your journey through life.

Human Ingeniousness Can Make a Machine

Human Ingeniousness Can Make a Machine So every species and degree of pleasure, and of bodily and genial contentment which we enjoy in this world, are only the radiation or emanations of this elementary principle, namely, accord or health. This book is of so much real importance to the health and happiness of each individual among the populace, that though it contains more matter or reading than most Two-British shilling pamphlets, it is ordered to be sold for only two pence. He was always more interested in hiring somebody who wanted to learn more and work hard than someone who just sounded good. The greatest part of the food of a ship’s company is inevitably salt provision. Human ingeniousness can make a machine, which may simulate vision exactly; but nothing that the art of man can form is found to gain sounds so much in so small a compass as the human ear.

To which is added, an account of the composition, provision, and properties of the three great medicines prepared and dispensed at the temple of health, Adelphi, and at the temple of maidenhead, pall-mall, Greater London. American author and spiritual activist Stephen Jenkinson once said,

Our culture doesn’t know how to feel sad. …. The inability to be sad is a culture-wide dilemma. You try to get the word sadness into a conversation, you try to surface the idea of sadness. It’s dismissed very quickly. And why is that? … It’s determined as a kind of a useless thing to feel. You can’t do anything with it. You can’t turn it in to anything. But anger, hell yes, you can turn that into stuff, in a hurry. It’s very hard to act on sadness.

Those who have rigorously put those methods in practice know how effective and infallible they are, and exact attention is necessary, as a single infected man, or any part of his garment, will spread sickness through a whole ship’s company. I do not mind making mistakes. All the same, that is only because mistakes do not inevitably connote incompetency. In fact, competent people make them all the time, whether due to lack of attention, working too fast, or being too tired. Although one thing competent people do not do is make mistakes because they do not know what they are doing. If this, still, were the case, all bodies with a smooth surface would be capable of reflecting sounds, which we know, by experience, they are not.

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Posted in Education and Career Faith and Religion

The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love The greatest of all arts is the art of love. We seek the well-being of those who are the objects of our affection. But how can we achieve this? Showering gifts on a child and allowing him to have his way at all times will not serve his well-being. It may even corrupt him and make him a mean and contemptible creature. On the other hand, thwarting him unduly may destroy his sense of security and cripple him emotionally for the rest of his life.

We need affection and the things it provides. However, affection is not a green light permitting the ego to proceed without restraints. It expresses itself in giving, but also in denying, in caressing but also in rebuking. The instinctive self-seeking of the child will grow into the irrational compulsions of the adult unless as a child he learns that his will was meant to have reason as its master. By reason, I mean that which teaches a man to walk through life with humility.

He who has never been frustrated will become an insufferable brat whatever his age. Occasional frustrations are good for the soul. We cannot live in a civilized society and give vent to all the impulses that exist in our natures. Some of them must be vetoed; some of them must be frustrated; and some must be vetoed and frustrated at particular moments. Thus parents who frustrate their children’s whims are not necessarily violating their love for them. In the right proportion, such frustrations may indeed be acts of genuine love.

What you will not find, all the same, is the one thing you are looking for your own happiness, peace of mind, and educated nature.

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued We ourselves also have moments when our mental attitude to life is like this-moments when our profound humanity is awakened and manifests itself. A body weighed nicely before it is put into the fire, and then weighed again, will be found to be increased in weight very reasonably. Thus the old man, even against the vehemence of this regretful commotion of his life, and all the rest, will live happy: and be ought to value that happiness the more because he will owe it to his own discernment. So that any lady or gentleman of sense and liberalness, may, thus assisted, become self-governing physicians, and often save not only their own, but the life of a friend or of a fellow creature, when manifestly at the point of death—and when given over by even the best physicians. British author, editor, and social entrepreneur Dougald Hine once wrote,

A harnessing of desire such that to be a good economic citizen became to work hard today for a deferred reward and in that you lose the festive culture where a surplus is an excuse for an animal experience of a feast rather than a surplus being something that is rationally reinvested. … Victorian morality … is the playing out …. of the relationship between time and desire which is inaugurated by a economic culture which is orientated around deferred gratification. And then at a certain point of time in the developed countries to be a good economic citizen begins to shift from being a good producer to being a good consumer, so what you have is that you spend on your credit card today and worry about how you are going to pay for it tomorrow …. an abstract contortion between desire and time

Nobody learns anything if politeness is not reciprocally valued. Many arts have been tried to make saltwater fresh and potable; the welfare of which would be, that in long voyages, when a ship’s company wanted fresh water, they might make use of seawater as a very easy interchange, by freshening it according to art. Sometimes being modest about our ability to genuinely operate oeuvre every facet of our life is good; it means we can focus instead on reacting vigorously to life’s stochasticity. Therefore, humanity is awakened to serious rumination. The greatest object lesson in life is to know that even fools are right on sometimes. We tend to equate ourselves with others and to wonder if we have enough to proffer in a relationship. However, were the knowledge of religious belief merely wondering, though’ the conjecture must be allowed to be noble, yet less could be said of its importance. Much of this work is conducted without much cognizance of its particular failings, difficulties, and critiques.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

The Maxims of Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism

The Maxims of Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism

Diogenes Laertius (third century CE) is the chief source for the writings of Epicurus (341–270 BCE,) the Greek philosopher and the founder of Epicureanism. Diogenes Laertius tells us that Epicurus was the most productive author of his time (having produced approximately 300 papyrus rolls). Unfortunately little survives. Diogenes himself preserves three short letters summarizing Epicurus’s physical theory, ethics, and clarifications of celestial phenomena, though doubts exist that the last is from Epicurus’s script. Kuriai Doxai, a collection of passages quoted by Diogenes, and a parallel collection enduring in another manuscript, Sententiae Vaticanae, were seemingly intended to remind believers of Epicurus’s key teachings.

Diogenes Laertius ends his biography of Epicurus with four authentic documents, three of them letters to disciples in which, among other things, he presents purely mechanistic explanations for various natural occurrences. The last document is a set of Epicurus’s maxims to direct a person seeking a happy life. .

  • Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism What is happy and imperishable suffers no trouble itself, nor does it cause trouble to anything. So it is not subject to feelings either of anger or of partiality, for these feelings exist only in what is weak.
  • Death is nothing to us, for that which is dissolved has no feeling whatsoever, and that which has no feeling means nothing to us.
  • A person cannot have a pleasant life unless he lives prudently, honorably and justly, nor can he live prudently, honorably and justly without a pleasant life. A person cannot possibly have a pleasant life unless he happens to live prudently, honorably and justly.
  • No pleasure is intrinsically bad, but what causes pleasure is accompanied by many things that disturb pleasure.
  • Vast power and great wealth may, up to a certain point, grant us security as far as individual men are concerned, but the security of men as a whole depends on the tranquility of their souls and their freedom from ambition.
  • Of all the things that wisdom provides for the happiness of a whole life, the most important by far is acquiring friends.
  • Natural justice is an agreement among men about what actions are suitable. Its aim is to prevent men from injuring one another, or to be injured.
  • Justice has no independent existence: it results from mutual contracts, and we find it in force wherever there is a mutual agreement to guard against doing injury or sustaining it.
  • Injustice is not intrinsically bad: people regard it as evil only because it is accompanied by the fear that they will not escape the officials who are appointed to punish evil actions.
  • The happiest men are those who have reached the point where they have nothing to fear from those who surround them.

Reference: Diogenes, “Epicurus,” The Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Book 10, Sec. 31. Trans. C. D. Yonge

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The Affluent Must also Struggle

The Affluent Must also Struggle

Affluence is Often Dangerous

Affluence is Often Dangerous Gardeners will tell you that too much watering harms the lawn. If you watered too copiously, your plants would be content to get their nourishment from the earth’s surface. They would not bother to grow roots deep enough to draw their supply from below. Further, down, there is not only water but also precious mineral food of all kinds. The shallow living plants miss these, and grow into weaklings. The deeper the root, the sturdier the plant.

I have often reflected on this peculiarity of plants. Does it not correspond with human life? Affluence is often dangerous to its possessors. Only those who grapple arduously with life’s problems develop these qualities or character—endurance, patience, the capacity to suffer privation. They are the sturdy plants in the world’s garden. They have sucked up from its depths the nourishment, which will help them face the rigors of life, fearlessly. Those who lack the incentive for striving, who find their needs supplied by a ready abundance, grow into weaklings.

People who have to struggle for their livelihood are spared this risk, since the normal course of their existence is sufficient to send their roots deeply into the soil of life and to give them the necessary toughening. Those who are affluent must also struggle. Theirs should be the greater privilege and the greater struggle—the struggle for ideals—for intellectual and moral growth, for the amelioration of the evils, which beset their fellow men.

The roots must go deeper if the plant is to grow sturdier.

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Even Violence

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Violence The miserableness of human life is made up of declamatory masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the demise of a child; years later, a bankruptcy in trade; after another retentive or shorter interval, a daughter may have married sadly; in all but the singularly inauspicious, the constitutional parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and clearly remembered. Once you observe it is there, you do not hold on to it. The happiness of your life depends upon the timber of your thoughts, thus guard consequently, and take care, that you entertain no notions inapplicable to virtue and sensible nature.

There is something about the literary life that repels me, all this despairing building of castles on cobwebs, the long-drawn disharmonious struggle to make something imperative, which we all know, will be gone incessantly in a few years, the miasma of failure which is to me almost as nauseating as the cheap floridness of popular success. Recall that most poor weather conditions go hand-in-hand with a higher woods noise level. American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,

Over the centuries, many violent deeds have been done in the name of religion. …. From a psychological perspective, it seems clear that it occurs when religion exists as a set of doctrines, ideas, rituals, and experiences divorced from any deep and expansive sense of empathy or compassion. Without empathy, people’s religious ideas become yet another means of seeing others as ‘different’ and of distancing oneself psychologically from them. Feeling disconnected in this way, people devaluate others, leading to intolerance and the tendency to inflict their view on others. When this happens, even the most beautiful and inspiring religious doctrines become like poison, serving as causes for prejudice, anger, oppression and even violence.

In addition, if perhaps such reduction were possible, what do we learn? We learn that there were possibly certain exceptional reasons or opportunities for the intensification of certain aboriginal (later adult) tendencies. While a lot of time is spent pursuing happiness, the grounds is compelling that if you plunge toward this unicorn straightaway, you will miss it by miles, and thus will not receive its illustrious forgivingness. In the end, you might find traces of the contentment and clarification they realized. The refinement of the imaginativeness leads to the development of the ideal out of which your future will egress.

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Egocentric Space and Sympathies

Egocentric People are Troubled with a Deep Inner Unrest

Egocentric People are Troubled with a Deep Inner Unrest Those who find themselves cloistered in too narrow a space often suffer from an affliction known as claustrophobia. It is the morbid dread of being shut in.

There is another kind of claustrophobia, which occasionally afflicts people—a claustrophobia not of space but of sympathies. It is just as pernicious. Some people live only for themselves, all their thoughts, all their emotions are centered on their own egos. The house they live in may be a mansion of immense size, yet these people will suffer from the shut-in feeling.

A person expands or contracts the world to the dimensions of his own spirit. He whose sympathies reach out to other people finds his world enlarged to the measure of those sympathies. Through our broadened interests, we can make ourselves part of all humankind, and rejoice in its past triumphs, struggle in its present dilemmas, and anticipate its future hopes. People who do this are blessed; they live in the vast open spaces of the spirit.

Egocentric people are invariably troubled with a deep inner unrest. They feel that their lives are empty, as indeed they are. For they do not take enough of life into the circle of their interests. No one ego is sufficient to fill life with the meaning and purpose which is required to keep it going.

Egocentric people usually think they are being kind to themselves. They refuse to bestow themselves on others so that they may have more with which to serve themselves. However, this is one of life’s great illusions. For too much concentration on the self-begets a shadow that obscures the rest of the world, and when we live with the image of that shadow constantly in our eyes, our spirit rises in revolt against its confinement.

When you estimate the odds of being harmed by the flu shot and compare them to the odds of needing it and being helped by it, there’s no question that just about everyone should get it. Being unable to find your mind when you look for it might be thought of as a moment of massive incertitude, yet this is precisely what frees you. How much greater felicitousness must we enjoy, upon whom the sun of science shines so bright as at this day?

The Need to Be Loved

The Need to Be Loved Psychologists have called attention to a person’s need to be loved. This is a valid need. However, there is another truth, which is occasionally overlooked. A person must not only receive love, he must also give it A person who is concerned with himself alone will be truly miserable. Our interests must turn in both directions, out as well as in. Spoiled people are unhappy even though they are the recipients of love, because not enough of their love flows back into the world. A gift carries more blessing for the giver than for the recipient.

Our world is as big as our outlook. We crave to live in the larger world, not only of space but also of sympathies.

Open-mindedness, which is the fruit of mindfulness, forms the basis for the disciplines of insight. This open-mindedness produces the space in which our apprehension, our discriminating awareness, operates and can be active. The ten kinds of wholesome actions lead to the higher realms. The American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote in The Happiness Hypothesis,

Our life is the creation of our minds, and we do much of that creating with metaphor. We see new things in terms of things we already understand: Life is a journey, an argument is a war, the mind is a rider on an elephant. With the wrong metaphor we are deluded; with no metaphor we are blind.

Since sun-sensitive people are at a higher jeopardy of developing skin cancer and are prone to sunburn, they are more likely to weary sunscreen. The helplessness of their circulation makes them cold, and their faint and sluggish pulse knows this. Interesting thought process on optimizing for dissimilar things during dissimilar life stages. Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the earnestness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness. At the postsecondary degree, the student alone is responsible for self-identification as someone with a disablement, presenting documentation to support that arrogate and requesting post school accommodations from employers or education personnel.

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Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

Freedom is the Opportunity for Self-realization

“No Man is Free Who is Not Master of Himself.”

“It’s a free world!” our seven-year-old son cried out in a final effort to rationalize his tantrum. He did not want to go to sleep, and he cried out against his enforced bedtime as an invasion of his rights. His illusion is not uncommon even among grown-ups. We often define freedom as the right to do as we please, but this is an erroneous conception. Freedom is not the right to do as we please. No one can do just as he pleases, since we are all subject to pressure from sources beyond ourselves, which we cannot defy. If freedom consists of the right to that defiance under all circumstances, then none of us can be free. The laws of gravity, biology, geography; the laws of the road and of our home routines; die laws of the natural world and the laws of the man-made world—all these and countless other regulations limit our right to do as we please.

No Man is Free Who is Not Master of Himself The separation of time elapsing between the pronouncing of the stimulation word and the response is precisely measured. It is needless to say that this would not only be an object of human race, but a great monetary saving, considering how expensive it is to support invalids, and to interchange men; not to mention that it is upon the health and lives of men that all public exertions fundamentally depend.

Freedom is the opportunity for self-realization. In each of us lie dormant all kinds of powers which were meant to be developed in the course of our maturing. Moreover, once developed, they were meant to be employed in the give and take of life. We are free if our powers can develop to the fullness of their promise and if we are unimpeded in their use.

A rock that rests on the seed planted in the ground will prevent its growth, thereby denying its freedom. However, tying the tender plant to a garden stake—while limiting it from too much movement, rather than restricting—enlarges its freedom, because it is an aid to its growth. And a world in which little boys have to retire at a reasonable hour is indeed a world which holds the conditions of freedom, because it is in such a world that little boys can grow up to become wholesome and healthy adults.

Let us not fret because there are traffic laws by which we must travel on the highway of life. The laws of the road, if they make for safer driving, are a contribution to our freedom, not an infringement of it.

Becoming Afraid of Peace and Happiness

Becoming Afraid of Peace and Happiness As for the greater variety, having become afraid of peace and happiness, one goes to asylum for the welfare of others.

The flux seems indeed often to be a kind of alternate for fevers, as it prevails most in those ships that have brought from Europe an infective fever. While it is better to have no idea than have a false idea, it is also better to have a genuine idea than having a pretended idea or no idea. In addition, this being so, I think it a great erroneous belief to persist in attempting to ascertain in the Christian doctrine that thoroughgoing rule for our counsel which its author intended it to sanction and impose, but only partially to offer. Stoic Philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations,

Be not perturbed, for all things are according to the nature of the universal; and in a little time thou wilt be nobody and nowhere, like Hadrian and Augustus. In the next place having fixed thy eyes steadily on thy business look at it, and at the same time remembering that it is thy duty to be a good man, and what man’s nature demands, do that without turning aside; and speak as it seems to thee most just, only let it be with a good disposition and with modesty and without hypocrisy.

Nothing contributes more to wellness and long life than pure and good air: but by pure we are not to interpret bleak; nor are old men at any time to choose it. Conversely, representatives of scientific discipline have often attempted to arrive at all-important judgments with respect to values and ends based on scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. It is well known, some who have reached a rare date of life, have perished at last by a sudden change in their food: and the air is scarcely of less effect.

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Sun Tzu’s The Art of War for Millennials

If you’re like most millennials in business, you haven’t read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. It perhaps never fascinated to you. In actual fact, if you’re like many smart and talented millennials I’ve met, you may believe it to be completely contrary to your nature.

There are certainly millennials who’ve read The Art of War and used it to their lives and their businesses. But if you’re like most, you may wonder how you can possibly familiarize the wisdom of a Chinese military strategist from 500 B.C. to your daily business encounters.

The answer is in an approach to business and life that is both time-tested and groundbreaking. Sun Tzu’s classic has had overwhelming influence the world over. It’s shaped Eastern military and business thinking, and in the West, its attractiveness continues to grow as managers and leaders apply its principles to their business challenges.

The book is about how to seize the advantage in all battles, including those you choose not to fight. While The Art of War is rather literally about warfare, presuming it’s about seeking combat as the best option is very far from the real Sun Tzu. In fact, a major theme of The Art of War is “He who knows when to fight and when not to fight will win.”

For most business readers, waging war doesn’t mean assembling forces to take a city. It means mobilizing ourselves or our teams to win a big contract, seize a market opportunity, control an industry, or reposition a company. Sun Tzu says a great deal about the traits and characteristics necessary for this type of victory. To be successful, Sun Tzu calls for vigilant strategy and proficient perception, superior subtlety and technique, and skillful application of your assets and attributes. He stresses that you understand yourself, your opponent and the conditions of the battleground, however you define that field. Below are just a few ways to apply Sun Tzu to business challenges that plague many millennials.

  • Ditch the Rules: Too many millennials fall into the trap of assuming that success will be found in following prearranged standards. This mistaken belief has its origin in childhood when most millennials are content with playing by rules and being patient and polite. While times have changed, you were probably habituated to be reactionary. There’s a time for patience and politeness, but in business, waiting your turn will often result in missed opportunities. Sun Tzu calls for the perception to move with intensity when the time is right: “An army superior in strength takes action like the bursting of pent up waters into a chasm of a thousand fathoms deep.”
  • Overcome Mistakes: Writing of ideals, Sun Tzu had no regard for mistakes. But the rest of us live in a very distinctive reality. Habituation often extends to how differently men and millennials regard mistakes. millennials, in general, have a more difficult time with mistakes, largely because we’re socialized to feel differently about mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to do better next time. But when millennials make mistakes, they’re solaced, emphasizing the idea that they should feel badly about making them.
  • Take the Right Risks: Risk taking is another area where millennials tend to function very differently, but where Sun Tzu delivers lucidity. A student of war, taking calculated risks is fundamental to him. He recognizes that we’re the architect of our victories, which means we need to define winning on our terms, and when necessary, change the game entirely. Sun Tzu writes repeatedly of manipulating circumstances. Many millennials find themselves on career paths or within organizations where their skills and strengths are painfully limited. Victory demands excellence and the only way to excel is to be positioned to achieve. If this doesn’t describe your circumstances, a game change is in order.

So what’s in The Art of War for millennials? For one thing, it provides awareness into how to gain a decisive business advantage by leveraging your strengths and assets to craft and execute effective strategies. It will help you understand and develop the traits and obstinacy necessary to make major achievements. And significantly, the Chinese philosopher-general will show you to do it in ways least expected: “Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness, make your way by unexpected routes.”

In a competitive world, the currency of the people, businesses, products and ideas that are winning is innovation. For Sun Tzu, and for you, winning requires careful preparation and the opportune launch of unexpected strategies and tactics.

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Posted in Mental Models and Psychology Philosophy and Wisdom

Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues

Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues

As a young adult, Ben Franklin identified 13 virtues he aspired to. To implement these virtues in his life, he devised a “Plan for Self Examination,” an agenda whereby he concentrated his attention, one virtue at a time, for one week at a time, rotating through the entire list four times a year. He kept a detailed log of the actions he took to develop the virtues in himself, along with his personal results.

He traced his development by using a little book of 13 charts. At the top of each chart was one of the virtues. The charts had a column for each day of the week and thirteen rows marked with the first letter of each of the 13 virtues. Every evening he would review the day and put a mark by the side of each virtue for each error committed with respect to that virtue for that day.

Unsurprisingly, his goal was to live his days and weeks without having to put any marks on his chart. At the start he found himself putting more marks on these pages than he ever anticipated, but in time he enjoyed seeing them diminish. Eventually he went through the series only once per year and then only once in several years until ultimately omitting them entirely. But he always carried the little book with him as a reminder.

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
  11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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Posted in Mental Models and Psychology Philosophy and Wisdom

Death is Not Extinction

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation Death is not a total extinction of life; it is as if the sculptor is smashing of a clay model. The form is destroyed; but it returns to its raw matter out of which the artist will attempt some new creation.

In the economy of God’s universe, there is a conservation of elements. We may disintegrate an atom, but the essence survives in the stupendous energy, which has been released. Similarly, death cannot destroy the body or the soul. The body returns to the treasury of primordial earth from which all physical life emerges and to which it returns. It decomposes into its constituent elements and continues to be part of the cycle of unending existence. The soul is invisible and it returns to its invisible living source. In addition, if we have lived with any beauty or goodness during the span of our years, then that beauty or goodness has entered the permanent reservoir of life’s assets, and it will continue to exist in newer incarnations; our deeds will be an inspiration to other lives.

Even our individuality is not wholly lost. For the seeds of immortality have been planted in us, and out of these seeds spring new life. For the Creator is infinitely resourceful and He employs the same stuff of life in eternally novel ways. Yet in that new life, we live on, for it is flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit.

Destruction is a prelude to new creation. It enables the Architect of our existence to wipe clean the slate at intervals and to start over again. The loss of the old is vindicated in the new—in the fairer copy, which comes after it.

Living and Lifelessness

Living and Lifelessness In searching for happiness in all the unseasonable places, we continually perpetuate the canonical misapprehension that we exist. Let those who are subject to slight complaints of this kind avoid wine, and supply its place by beer of a due potency. As a dripping-stone will not grow enough for a ship’s company, the following expeditious method may be practiced. We promptly attain the level of the triumphant ones. This is unconditioned love, love that does not expect or need a return, love that sees past the petty differences and disputes in life to the cosmopolitan longings for happiness that we all share. You cannot service two masters. Then follows the actualization that the differentiation between living and lifeless is a human conception.

We would see them inspiring individual religious belief and public dedication; restoring graveness of manners and simple mindedness of life; promoting in every man contentment with his lot, surrender to ecclesiastic designation, and continual regard to the blessing of heaven. –We may glorify riches and traffic; but, in truth, the preponderance of such principles of public virtue and concord forms the real strength and glory of a nation. The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. For illustration, although the particular correlation between the powers of speed in different performances has been found to come close to zero, this need not inevitably be at all the case as regards preferences of rate; on the contrary, the person who likes to do one thing in a measured manner is very likely to prefer deliberation in other things also. American psychologist James Hillman wrote in Kind of Blue—An Essay on Melancholia and Depression,

Fundamentally everything in inexplicable. If doesn’t matter what you go into deeply enough, you realise there is no answer, because because there is no reason. Probably melancholia gives you the feeling of coming to the end. It affects the feeling level. It isn’t that your mind can no longer understand what is happening to it. But you have the feeling that there is no way you can go on. And that reason itself has come to a stop. They say time itself has come to a stop, or the mind has come to the end of its tether. That’s its importance though; that it stops the mind’s inflation that it can understand everything or come to grips with anything.

The happiness of life may be greatly increased by small good manners in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which evidence themselves by tender and lovesome looks, and little kind acts of attention.

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Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom