The End

June 6, 2009

The writer of this blog gave me his password, to give you the last entry.

He was in a car accident, and is in critical condition. He wanted to change the world, but he never got to see his project succeed.

His philosphy was this:

Do good things, and allow the rest of the world to follow.

Please, honor him when you can, by following his philosophy as your own. This blog was far too short, as was he.

Day three on our road to introspection. Today, we are going to focus on emotions.

Everyone experiences anger, sadness, joy–yet, everyone experiences them in different ways. There is no template for emotional responses. People may cope with negative emotions in varying manners, or react to positive emotions differently. Some can be pushed into emotions more easily than others, and some are pulled into emotions by different events.

Your emotional responses color everything you do. Emotion can be both a tool and a hinderance: today, take steps to understand your own.

Ask yourself: What makes me angry? Nervous? Afraid? Excited? Understand how you BECOME emotional, and then understand how you respond. What do you do when excited? Is there anything you generally do when angry? How do your emotions affect they way you act and respond?

The answer will, most certainly, be different for everyone. The only way to answer is careful self-observation. By understanding your emotions, you are one step further towards recognizing when they are a benefit, and when they can be damaging.

Think back to your emotional experiences, and examine them carefully. Find out who you are, as a person.

Go well. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Today, we continue our self examination, in hopes that, by understanding ourselves, we can better understand others.

Everyone has their own standards of morality. Depending on beliefs and upbringing, many may disagree over what is “right” or “wrong.” People have differing opinions of the morality of such issues from abortion and homosexuality, to the death penalty, to speeding. Each person may come to a different conclusion about what they believe to be “correct,” one which you may find either reassuring or reprehensible. Today, we are going to focus on one thing: how do you determine what is morally correct?

Throughout our daily lives, we must make choices between right and wrong, and each one of us judges in a different manner. Some may use religion, some may use their reason, some may merely do what “feels” right, and some use a mix. The question is: how do you yourself define something as morally correct? How do you determine what is the “right” stance to take.

Again, it’s a personal question. There’s no absolute answer; rather, there is only what you can come up with. Try to make a statement of morality: what you, yourself, use to determine right from wrong.

Then, come back tomorrow.

See you then.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

If you want to change the world, to solve others’ problems, you must first understand yourself: your motivations, your rationality, and your purpose must be completely within your knowledge. There is no way to relate to the outside world without first relating to yourself. Ask yourself: What kind of person am I? What traits apply to me? And, why?

This week, each day’s task will have the end purpose of self-reflection, enabling you to develop a clear life philosophy. As the week progresses, ask yourself: Why do I act as I do? Why do I enjoy what I enjoy? What do I believe to be right?

Today, I want you to focus on one thing: what makes you happy. Today, ask yourself: “What would make me fulfilled? What do I need to make my life complete?” There is a difference between greed and self fulfillment–today, focus on self-fulfillment. What would make you complete as a person? The answer can only be determined by you yourself.

Getting to know yourself can be a revolutionary act. Today, let’s start the revolution.

See you tomorrow.

Ask yourself this question: on average, how often do you think of the effects your actions will have on others?

Of course, from an early age, we are all told to respect others’ feelings, to treat others they way we want to be treated–yet, for most of us, our actions and responses are still mainly focused on self interest. We act in ways which benefit us, yet decry others when they act in similar manners. The main problem is most have no concept of what it would be like to be any other person.

Understanding is key to acceptance. Today’s job is this: the next time someone acts in a way you don’t  understand–perhaps in a way which offends you–hold against your initial reaction. Ask yourself: “Why are they doing this? What could their thoughts be? Could there be a reason for what they are doing?” Put yourself in their situation, their mindset, and try to understand them.

As a first step, it is the start of a new way of thinking: one of thinking of others, rather than oneself. It can change your attitudes, your presumptions, and most of all your responses to others. There is nothing more others can ask of you.

It’s a start.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

There is no doubt that once, in the span of your life, you have made a mistake. Mistakes are inevitable, for the  most part, but they can still cause others pain. Most of the time, it is not the mistake itself that causes ill will, but the resentment associated. And, while the tangible effects of a mistake fade, the resentment may yet remain.

Hopefully, you have forgiven someone for a mistake they perpetrated against you. Today, your task is a bit harder. Today, ask someone who you have hurt in some way for forgiveness. Perhaps, if resentment remains, they will not respond, but a first step towards rectification must be taken. Today, I’m counting on you to take it.

Don’t be nervous. Everyone has, at some point, needed forgiveness. Today you take the first step in achieving yours.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Day 4–The Storm

May 29, 2009

Emotions are the fuels that drive us, the incentives for almost everything we do. Emotion is powerful and hard to control, yet it is what gives both flavor and purpose to life itself. Emotion, then, can both enhance or detract from a life. Sometimes, however, it has no potential but that to destroy.

Anger blinds. Of all the emotions, it has the most power over us, and it is the most unyeilding and unreasonable of them all. There is no way to stop yourself from ever becoming angry–and indeed, there should not be–but you can and should do your best to keep anger from damaging you or those around you.

Today’s lesson is this: never make a move in anger. Even if you believe yourself to have every right, every reason to act in some way, do not take action when under the influence of anger: it is antithetical of reason. Wait until calm before approaching the situation. Perhaps you can stop yourself from treating others in a way you will eventually regret.

So, today, do two things. Think of a time you acted in anger, and what, if anything, you regret doing. Then, make a vow to yourself to never allow anger to control you, even for a second. With this, you’re one day further to a kinder world.

See you tomorrow. Until  then, don’t rest. Keep up your kindness. Because it’s a big world out there, and it’s got the inertia. All we have is persistence. We can’t afford to stop.

Day 3–Action

May 29, 2009

Insignificance is an ugly word.

The word is bantered about quite frequently, in our society. Our world is filled with more than six billion people—to many, the quantity defies comprehension. There is little significance attached to one being in a throng of billions. What action can one person take that affects the world?

Perhaps one person is insignificant. Perhaps a hundred people are insignificant. But the world lives and breathes because of the billions of small actions, whose sum makes up the entire world. So many small actions together must be significant. And a movement must always start small.

Today, find something you’re passionate about. Do something to alert others about the same issue. Write a letter to a congressman, make posters—find some way to get word out. You don’t have to start a crusade: all you need to do is make sure your opinion has made an impact on someone.

And that’s a start for today.

See you tomorrow.

Mistakes are a fact of life. Some mistakes are easily fixed, and clear up quickly. Others never seem to go away. The hardest mistake to fix is one made against someone else. It’s not always easy to make amends to someone who you’ve wronged, especially if they’re upset. In the end, the hurt feelings caused by wronging another can last far longer than the mistake itself.

Resentment grows over time. Small feelings of anger or embaresment turn into large ones. Avoiding atonement for one’s mistakes at first makes it harder later. Additionally, as time goes on, the person wronged only feels more of a victim. This cycle must be broken.

Today, forgive someone who has wronged you. Recognize that apologizing is one of the hardest things a person can do. Internally, cease blaming. Externeally, tell the person you forgive them. It’s not an easy task, but it’s an important one. Everyone can make a mistake–it’s our task to ensure everyone can also be forgiven.

See you tomorrow. We’re just getting started.

Optimism is not naive.

There is a sense, in our society, that those who are too trusting or too kind will never be vindicated. Assuming the best in people, many assert, only leads to them taking advantage of you.  Why even bother?

It’s assertions like these that make our society less livable.

Assuming the worst in people feels far safer. In a sense, you’ve protected yourself from any surprises. Yet, always fearing the worst case is not a way to live, or a way to build a community. By assuming the worst, you will always be bourn out, because you never give someone the opportunity to prove you wrong. An optimist may be seldom rewarded, but a pessimist will never be.

So, today’s job is: assume the best from people. Don’t jump to negative conclusions. Give people the chance to prove their decency. Maybe you’ll be disappointed ninety percent of the time, but that ten percent will be worth it.

See you tomorrow. We’ve got work to do.

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