March 17, 2014

I can't give you these fish

I read this post today by Seth Godin.  We often get caught up in emotional arguments for or against the actions we take.  I can't stand the way this person does x so I will be mean in return.  It would be so convenient for me if I just say y and I will be off the hook.  It's probably going to rain anyway, I'll just take my ball and go home.  Given any situation - someone picking on you, an opportunity for a dishonest way ahead, bashing instead of helping someone who isn't so nice - you have a choice.  There is always a choice between doing what feels good and what is right.  Why can't the right thing also be the one we like?  Don't know, but it rarely is.  Unless we change our perspective.

It feels good for ourselves when we eat the sweets, render some sort of revenge, or make an easy gain.  And yet when there's a choice between these good feelings and what's right; the two will almost always conflict.  Good health always beats out sugar.  A positive act for an arch rival enriches his life.  Kind words about somebody else defeats our bravado we think makes ourselves look good.  When we focus on ourselves, these decisions are hard.  When we allow our base and selfish emotions to lead the way, we choose poorly.  When I just know that the world revolves around me, nobody wins.

There are numerous traits, characteristics, actions, decisions.  Words have filled shelves about the qualities of leaders, friends, an respected elders.  Many are good, but few can really help you influence those around you.  Few are actually sources for other qualities that make us better.  So here's a list of decisions.  These actions mean putting the selfish emotions behind and focusing on the good that can be given.  They mean digging below the superficial, looking ahead, and working hard for the true value that comes with a selfless pursuit.  These items are a choice between feeling good for a short time or making good that can last:

Decide to be confident.

Decide your attitude.

Decide to be honest.

Decide to be courageous.

Decide to love.

Nobody can give you these qualities, they can only be taught, learned, practiced, failed, then practiced some more.  They are difficult: our own self interest tries to hijack them.  They all enable a positive that can be given once the decision is made.  They will all have lasting effects far beyond the time it takes to practice them.

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