We are absurdly anxious about success, says popular philosopher Alain de Botton (TED Talk: Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success). In his talk from 2009, he suggests that many of our modern values — like our sense of limitless possibility and upward growth — can actually lead us to stress harder about how well we’re doing. But the reverse can also be true, says de Botton. For TED, he’s put together this reading list of (mainly) pessimistic philosophers who have inspired his thinking about positivity.
“Montaigne likes to point out that philosophers don’t know everything, and that they would be a lot wiser if they laughed at themselves a little more. He also writes in a personal and often very frank way designed to shock the prudish. ‘Kings and philosophers shit, and so do ladies,’ he says. ‘Even on the highest throne in the world…
When we were growing up, our parents told us that taking the time to “Find Yourself” was a waste of time. As if “Finding Yourself” meant joining a hippie band and running away from home on a dilapidated school bus. (Not that hippie bands aren’t cool) Or that doing a Liberal Arts Major in University was a waste of money because it would be impossible to try to get a practical job with your Classical Studies degree.
I frankly disagree with anybody that tells me that “Finding Yourself” isn’t important. What could be more important than discovering who you are at your core? Or finding out what your stand for? Or discovering what you’re really passionate about?
The moment you start living life on your own terms and nobody else’s is the day you really start living.
When I was 19, I went away to a 12 day Vipassana meditation…
I recently read the reflections of Ken Blanchard in ‘One Solitary Life’. This little book is simply priceless. It could make a great gift! Below is what stood out for me:
“How can we attain spiritual significance? We can do it by not focusing on earthly success such as wealth, recognition, power and status. instead, we should look at the opposite. For example, rather than focus on the accumulation of wealth, we can focus on the opposite: generosity. And when we talk aboutgenerosity we’re not only talking about giving treasure, but also giving our time, and touch. Charlie Tremendous Jones, author of Life is Tremendous, finds even the notion of giving ridiculous. “We should stomp out giving,” he says, “Returning is the answer. After all, He owns it all – it’s not really ours in the first place.”
Isn’t it a high time that we turned our focus on returning? We are blessed with so much and it is only ideal to give back to He who has given it all to us: by being the best version of ourselves. Our lives are His after all. Psalms 139 :-).
Jay MacPherson was a rare creature — one of a kind. Everyone who knew her would agree.
Eleanor Cook has spoken about her poetry. I can only add that those few who heard her read it have never forgotten the experience. She was not a person who was interested in poetry as a “career” – she wrote poems only when impelled – and that is clear from the poems themselves.
I first met Jay in 1957 because she was my English professor at Victoria College – which did hire women then, unlike some colleges at the University of Toronto and very many universities and colleges throughout the English-speaking world. Jay must have been a mere twenty-eight years old, but she seemed to me very experienced and accomplished – she had, after all, just won the Governor General’s Award for The Boatman, at the unprecedented age of twenty-seven. At…
This has to be one of the best things I have read all week! I hope some of the thoughts by the writer resonate with you as they did with me and teach you a thing or two about being the best you can possibly be at all times whether you are in your 20s or not.
A friend and I were discussing how haphazardly people at times cross the road. It was really idle chat as we made our way across town. But she mentioned something that I thought was insightful: crossing the road is a personal decision.
It truly is. At that moment when you decide to cross , you’re physically and mentally ready for it. You’ve balanced out your weight and acceleration and you know that should anything unexpected happen, you’ll be set to take it on. Therefore that person who grabs you and says. “twende!” before you can prepare yourself does you a great disservice! You can only go when you have made that personal decision.
I extrapolated this statement to put meaning to things we do in life. No one should compel you to do anything you are not ready for no matter how much they think you look ready. So should you encounter such “twende” people, may be you can do what I normally do:
Ignore them: Silence works every time! But remember to be gracious and respectful.
Tell THEM to go! Encourage them to take that route that they so desperately want to take and wish them well!
Shake them off! Sometimes you cannot really ignore them or talk to them so try and ‘lose’ them in the crowd! Unless you wear really heavy scents, they will not be able to track you! 🙂
So whether it concerns doing that Masters degree, quitting your job to start that business or even embark on that seemingly fairy-tale – like relationship, such major decisions almost always need you to be the sole initiator and executor.
p/s Remember to look right, left and then right again!
“I searched all around the world, and I found myself” – Beyonce Knowles.
I didn’t have to search far. I was here all along. All I had to do was sit still and find. I found myself and I feel strong. Who ever I meet, talk to and learn form affirms it. We are what we search for. I heard the line for the first time recently. It hit home in a warm sort of way. When I heard it I sat back and smiled. How brilliant. How true.
I have been searching for order. Action: I walked into the nearest bookshop and bought a comprehensive diary. I jot down what I have to do for the day every morning at 5.30am. Result: Although I don’t hit the mark all the time at least I get to sit down at the end of my day and figure out why.
I have been searching for success: Action: I set out to make friends that define the word. Result: I have a network that I constantly learn from and slowly but surely, my weaknesses are becoming strengths.
I have been searching for love: Action: Set high personal standards that will not be compromised no matter what. Result: I am single but secure 🙂