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...And The Wisdom to Know The Difference

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After talking with the new guy at work, I had kind of an epiphany. I was training Ron in the weekend procedures, and we had some down-time. We're about the same age, and despite different backgrounds, Ron and I have a similar outlook socially and politically. So talking to him was a bit like a springboard into my own perspectives.

We were flummoxed by how many soft, pampered crybabies moan about every problem, large and small. We agreed it was a matter of perspective. For the average American, a bad day is when your car or cell phone breaks. For billions of others around the globe, a bad day is when you lose your only source of potable water, or when the criminal gang rampages through town. As divergent as those worlds are, they do have something in common: People find happiness despite their travails. But, how?

It's a sickness most humans have, we want to control everything. And sadly enough many people actually think that they can. This hubris extends to the world around us. So many think that they can save a snow leopard, or make the Earth cooler, or make people stop killing each other. We inculcate this rubbish thinking in our young, "Little Billy, you can do ANYTHING!" Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with encouraging people to learn, grow and make a positive impact in the world. But it's societal malpractice to have a culture that thinks it can solve every problem.

It's more than just learning to fail. It's learning to expect and embrace the fact that life is a struggle, and failure is a major part of it.

The neurosis I see is the internal conflict between the damaged perception of reality most people have... and reality. We humans develop coping mechanisms. Religions, political parties, and all kinds of tribal philosophical systems. We are browbeaten into believing that individually we are weak, and only through giving our power to others can we find peace and security. The psychotic break occurs when our tribal unit lets us down. When too much is invested in Them, there's not enough left in Us to pick up the pieces and move on.

I will never get over that image of so many people crying, CRYING, when Hillary Clinton lost the election. How empty is your life when you invest so much of it into some politician / guru / philosophy? You don't need to be lead. Grow-up and lead yourself.

So here's Doctor Winston's prescription: First, know and accept your limits. Second, leverage your skills in a way that makes sense. And finally, when you encounter something that sets you back, stop blaming people. It happens. To all of us. Get over it and move on.

Instead of getting up every morning worrying about how you can make the Earth two degrees cooler, try this: Make someone's day better. Bring doughnuts into work. Help a co-worker, even one you don't like. Pick-up some trash, even though "It's someone else's job". And put things in perspective. Your problems may seem huge to you, but probably not any worse than the seven billion others on the planet.

You can't help them all. But you can make the world around you better. And that makes you better.

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  1. escorial's Avatar
    Maybe America's psyche is changing from one that doesn't want to lead the world and China does.....history shapes many things like how Europe changed into a liberal democracy after a colonial/imperial back drop..the trickle down effect is that nice humans will always be vulnerable to not so nice humans....
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