Tag Archives: Relationships

Expect nothing; Gain everything

“To avoid disappointment in life, don’t attach an expectation to an outcome.”

Buddha

When there is an expected result desired no matter the situation, there is always a good chance that you’ll experience disappointment. This disappointment can lead to anger, especially if it involves something between friends, family or lovers. If you’re not able to rise above this type of situation peacefully, the first thing that most people experience is anger, animosity or even hatred. At this point, this is when your mind has taken over your other bodily senses and closed off your inner power and intellect. Then, it’s easy to become angry, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy to achieve. 

So, the next time you become angry at someone, remember to try not to attach an expectation to whatever made you angry in the first place. And also remember the exact dose of anger you exert, and at what time, and for what purpose could be the difference between a broken friendship or relationship and one that has grown closer than ever before. If you can accomplish this, then you’re on your way to achieving spiritual and physical maturity.

Happiness is a Choice

An excellent idea

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle (1811) Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice

Aristotle

Such a poignant statement that sums up how we should truly measure ourselves. As I celebrate my 54th birthday today, I will take these words by Aristotle with me as a reminder to live my life each day as someone who lives rightly. Doing so will help me be an excellent human being who has chosen to develop habits that are conducive to a life of excellence. After all, isn’t that what we all want to achieve with our lives? Today, choose to be an excellent person who inspires others to live their life in excellence. This is a most excellent idea. 

It depends upon

“A man is not much if he can’t depend on himself, and nothing if others can’t depend on him.”

~  Benjamin Black

There’s a school of psychology which holds that happiness is subjective. Good or bad things happen in life, but people return to the same base level of happiness. Researchers found evidence that people adapt completely to marriage, divorce, widowhood, birth of a child, and layoffs.

Death of a spouse, for instance, is a terrible event characterized by a radical drop in happiness, but in the year that follows happiness rises, and within two years happiness returns to normal and may even rise above the baseline (as the subject gets caught in another hedonic cycle). A similar hedonic pattern follows most negative events—and positive ones too. People get over them. In almost every unhappy situation that people are faced with, the happiness level reverts to the baseline. 

Because people have the strength to eventually rebound after any tragedy, they can depend on themselves, and others can depend on them to get them through the difficult times in life. Choose to be a happy person no matter what happens in your life and people will know they can depend on you. It just depends on you.

Happiness is a Choice

Thinking intelligently

“The essence of intelligence would seem to be in knowing when to think and act quickly, and knowing when to think and act slowly.”

~ Psychologist Robert Sternberg

How we react to something determines the outcome of a certain situation which can have a great impact on us immediately or some time after. It all depends on how quickly or slowly you act. How you act–and react–shows how intelligent you really are. Smart people typically don’t get themselves in trouble because they have thought about what their actions will manifest and the consequences they’ll have to live with thereafter. So, next time you’re in a situation that requires critical thinking and quick judgement, try your best not to make a decision either too quickly or too slowly. Whatever you decide though, make sure your course of action is based on how it effects the lives of those involved in your decision. It will end up being the best decision of all.

Golf balls, pebbles, sand and coffee

“The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee”

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with GOLF BALLS. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of PEBBLES and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of SAND and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced TWO CUPS OF COFFEE from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that:

1. This JAR represents your life.

2. The GOLF BALLS are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

3. The PEBBLES are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

4. The SAND is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Spend more time enjoying your hobbies. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the sink disposal. TAKE CARE OF THE GOLF BALLS FIRST–THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER. Set your priorities. THE REST IS SAND.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the COFFEE represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

People should spend more of their time thinking about what is most important in their lives and about those who are closest to them, then spend the remainder of their time doing things for and with those people.

The rainbow rule

The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you finish the work.

~ Pat Clifford

If you have a child(ren) in your life, then be sensitive to the fact that time won’t wait for you to find time to spend with them. Make a daily effort to spend time with your offspring so they can grow up in a way that you want them to grow up. Children are directly effected by how much effort we put into their lives. This effort comes from your commitment to make the time to help them become people you will be proud of and who will be proud of you for all the time you give to them. The best use of your time is the time you give to others; so make sure you give more time to the ones you bring into this world than those who don’t matter as much to you in the end. Put children before your work so they can enjoy the many colors of the rainbow and more importantly, your colors.

Rainbow Children

Total tolerance

“I believe with all my heart that civilization has produced nothing finer than a man or woman who thinks and practices true tolerance.”

~ Frank Knox

Accepting people as they are no matter how different they are from you is one of hardest things to do as human beings. There are division/differences in every aspect of life – culture, food, religion, dress, language, money, art, etc. Having enough tolerance to really appreciate these differences takes an awful lot of will, desire, intelligence and love. I have had to apply all of these actions into my life for the past six years while living in Asia. Everything here is different from where I came from. It took me a long time to accept the differences that exist in this part of the world. Living a more tolerant life has made me a better person; one who has an improved understanding of the human spirit and purpose for life. As you journey through this life, make a choice to accept something or someone that you never thought you could accept or something you never considered doing before. You’ll really be amazed at just how much you grow from the experience. Can you tolerate that?

Tolerant Beauty

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for use of his illustration.