What It Takes to Be Happy
Now is the time. Now is forever, the time to be happy. No matter what. How? Here is the secret. The great minds of the world tell you. Health. Ethics. Passion. Soulmates. Family. Work. Even how to deal with... the Impossible. The power of imagination. Humor. Money. Altruism, Charity, and generosity. And more. Enjoy and beware.
FUNanc!al invites you to...
Note: This text is being edited on a regular basis. Isn't happiness a full time job and a daily strife? (Last update: 7/7/22)
Tough to think, do, help, contribute, be happy if you're not in shape. "The first wealth is health," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. To which Thomas Carlyle adds, "He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything." Sounds just about right.
Thus, it is best to take care of it - your health.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet, watch your weight, sleep well, and exercise just about every day - varying the routines. Run, bike, lift, stretch, meditate, box, swim, whatever works for you.
Make sure you are well-rested before driving; fatigue behind the wheel can kill.
Avoid smoking, abusing alcohol, consuming drugs. Don't even start, as these are known to create dependencies and damage free will. Once you start, you may never stop.
Wine is wonderful, just drink responsibly, occasionally.
Wanna smoke pot? Make it a rare delight if you must. Remember Robin Williams' words, "Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money." And then, sadly, he, not to mention all the others fallen, committed suicide, a terrible loss for all.
Ask yourself. Wouldn't you love to reach 100, and be healthy when you do so? It's the dream... Then no point in getting depressed because years go by, and they do at lightning speed. Enjoy the day, every day.
As anthropologist Ashley Montagu puts it, "The idea is to die young as late as possible." You're 75 and healthy but sad wondering about your lost youth; cheer up, lucky you are to have made it that far, and it's never too late to pursue new endeavors! To quote actor John Barrymore, "A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
As for the end, you know, the stuff called death, tough for most, if not all, of us to make sense of it. Aren't Woody Allen's words precious, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying." The actor, screenwriter, and director got that one right, and that's at least three men…
Or maybe you wish to believe in reincarnation or a hereafter. While many may be skeptical, neither eventualities can be disproved, since nobody knows for sure what death is. Happiness is where you find it, who is anyone else to judge?
And then remember Publilius Syrus's words, "The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself."
"It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live," adds Victor Hugo.
Please, worry about it, the end, when you're there, not before… You may then be surprised at how meaningless any such angst is to begin with. There is no fear if there is no awareness. Once you're nothing, well, nothing matters.
Which brings us to the following enlightened words:
The way to the end sure can be challenging. Buddha's words remind all that "Pain is certain, suffering is optional." Indeed, pain, the feeling of unpleasant (or worse) physical sensations, is universal and inevitable. Most of us during our lifetime will encounter it. It sends clearcut messages that certain activities are detrimental to our health and should be avoided. A tooth ache reminds us that 1) We should watch our diet; too much sugar may be detrimental to both teeth and heart; 2) We should have proper hygiene and brush teeth, floss, use water flosser, etc. after each meal; 3) So we can prevent further decay, injuries, aches, etc.
Modern medicine can ease many, if not most, physical ills. Even the worst pain, that, for example, caused by pancreatic cancer, can be relieved by strong painkillers (morphine, etc.). Other catastrophic events (third-degree burns, amputations, etc.), while feared and rightfully so, strangely kill the pain at the source by destroying tissue (nerves, limbs, etc.). Nature has its ways, however strange they may seem at times...
Most importantly, a great mind sure can help. Suffering is the struggle, anxiety, distress, upset, denial, regret, lament, indignation, and self-pity that tend to feed off, or develop around, pain. To let go of suffering, it helps to first accept the pain. Understand what drives it.
Just one of several thousand examples. Foot cramps and Charley horses can trigger horrendous pain. But they have clear drivers including 1) Lack of hydration, thus drink enough water throughout the day; 2) Poor nutrition, a balance of electrolytes (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) is essential for proper contraction and relaxation of the muscle, thus eating a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens and bananas, will help; 3) Side effect of medication (some medications such as statins and diuretics can cause muscle cramps), beware; 4) Not stretching enough and overexertion, thus warming up is key before exercising with care; 5) Poor circulation; 6) inadequate attire (shoes, etc.), thus dress properly; 7) If affected, stretch out the muscle by standing or moving the limb or foot; firmly but gently pull the toes and the foot upward to the front of the leg. Repeat these movements until the cramping eases. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist.
In sum, trying to deny pain or blaming it on someone or projecting it in times past or future, exacerbates suffering and thus magnifies the pain, making it the center of our experience. None of which, actually diminishes the discomfort. The added layers of frustration, confusion, and consternation, only worsen the outlook and are counterproductive. It is best to accept the pain, be knowledgeable about what triggers it, and optimize encounter. Meet the end with humility. The last sigh is harmony too.
Ethics, Integrity, Honesty
Great, you're healthy, or are you? It's not just the body, but the soul, that needs to be in tiptop shape. Be ethical. Otherwise, whatever you build in life, will mean nothing. Get rich dealing drugs? No, Sir. Steal, rob, kidnap, murder, of course not! Cheat, lie your way around, no good. Pay bills and taxes as they come due. Make sure you maintain integrity, for at least three reasons.
- Jail time is no fun.
- Trust is paramount. Everything worth building in life requires it, and nobody trusts the gangster or the non-ethical.
- Cheat or sin or avoid paying taxes and you'll worry in a way you never knew you could. Your health may end up paying the price. As Norman Cousins put it, "Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences." Thus, anticipate...
Be honest – with yourself and with all those around you. As third US President Thomas Jefferson put it, " Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
Confucius notes, "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."
Andrew Jackson adds, not without pertinence, "One man with courage makes a majority."
Be vigilant too. Sometimes, it does not take much to go from right to wrong. To quote actor Gene Hackman, "The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways."
Likewise, embark on any journey of self-discovery (and in life) with candor and make sure you evaluate all of your inclinations – and being – thoroughly. As Carl Jung put it, "Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
Kindness, Gratitude and Mindfulness
Says Mother Teresa, "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
A favorite quote on mindfulness, courtesy of John Bunyan, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Spirited Doris Day adds,"Gratitude is riches. Complain is poverty."
Say you're having a bad day. Owe a million dollars to a gangster or worse, the government, have cancer, and feel terrible for the millions on Earth starving to death (it's called consternation or solidarity, depending). Clearly, you're in a rough place. But then, you exist! The gangster deserves the conundrum that you are. You're the living proof that there is only so much the government can do to hoard and accumulate, how inspiring is it to thousands and millions that you keep fighting against one of the worst disease, and, despite all the misery, grateful you should be that you're able to send such an incredible message to the world, however painful it may be. And then, who knows, maybe you survive and thrive against all odds, I dare you... Think of the many ways, some sure unexpected, you could be grateful that there are so many manners we all can help each other, or be given a chance to help, the millions starving to death, and how, in turn, grateful the world should be, to you, and us all, for of the above to happen at all.
No matter what your circumstances, remember Harold Kushner's words, "If you concentrate in finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
Great, you're healthy – both body and soul – what's next? If you're idle or bored out of your mind, you may find it difficult to avoid depression and/or thus stay healthy and happy. Therefore, it is critical to find something to do that fulfills you. Ask yourself then, what makes you tilt? To quote Shakespeare, "Go to your bosom, knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know."
What will motivate you, drive you to spend 10,000 hours or more of your life to reach excellence? According to the 10,000-hour rule popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s blockbuster book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials, like playing the piano or computer programming. Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, he argues, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. Well, not that simple. For example, it may help to have a great teacher. Still, no doubt, practice is critical.
So, what will trigger in you that level of commitment and passion. Many wander through life and never find out. Best to avoid such a fate. One way to think about it is to ask yourself, what do you love to do with your life. What do you enjoy doing? Programming? Curing? Teaching? Cooking? Diving? Litigating? Writing? Acting? Painting? Singing? It's a simple question. Explore. Experiment. Try. Be curious, inquisitive. Try again. Discover. Never stop learning - about learning and about the world.
Another critical way to awake to your own inclinations – and then learn about them and build skills around them – is to read. As Louis L’Amour put it, "It is often said that one has but one life to live, but that is nonsense. For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in all periods of time." Think of all the exposure you can get – to people and their passions and the exploration within they may trigger.
To which Zig Ziglar adds, "Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs."
Reading is also a wonderful way to "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself." Who can ever get enough of Groucho Marx's wisdom?
Adds Mark Twain, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read."
Once you've found out what makes you tilt, and triggers the passion in you, ask yourself this other, all-too-often forgotten, paramount question. How much can I contribute to others' wellbeing pursuing this interest? Simply put, if you want to make a living with this passion of yours, you must make sure that your pursuit contributes enough that others will be willing to pay for your endeavor. There lies the difference between a hobby and a passion you may turn into a job or a business venture.
Lech Walesa, President of Poland, said, "The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." No doubt. Film director John McNaughton adds, "Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself."
Make contributions to others a critical part of your thinking as to which passions of yours may turn professional and which may remain hobbies. To quote diarist Anne Frank, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." To improve the world is what it's all about; others thus must find value. Starting and growing a successful business requires happy customers. Getting and keeping a great job requires a no less happy boss. Even competitive sports requires happy sports authorities - as champions push limits and transcend and consecrate the human race.
As you proceed to factor others' input into your life scheme, you may not forget these four additional rather critical rules or insight; all have the potential to help you expand the sphere of contributions you make to others – and the world:
- "Life is an adventure in forgiveness," as Norman Cousins puts it. An interesting variant on the theme, courtesy of Abraham Lincoln, is, "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friend?"
- Dale Carnegie is right, "To be well liked, you have to be the one to reach out first." Do so; it may feel counter-intuitive at times, but you'll win friendships and many of life's battles this way.
- But then, make sure to stand your ground when justified. As actor Paul Newman put it, "If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character." Max Lucado could not agree more, saying, "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." David Brinkley goes one step further, "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." Which reminds me of Former Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer's words, "A thick skin is a gift of God."
- Take it all with a grain of salt. Comedian George Carlin jokes, "Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" To others, you're the other.
As you proceed through this step, also make sure to remember George Washington Carver's words, "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." In the process, thus be humble.
At the heart of it, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart captures it best, "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius." You should do what you love and people should love what you do. And it's about loving the world we live in, however painful it may feel or be sometimes. Like he says, love, love, love.
Victor Hugo seems to agree, "Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved."
Which, of course, brings us to the soulmate. Most of us want one, seek one, need one. You know, that special someone to love who dares to reciprocate. As Mark Twain put it, "To get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with." Happiness alone is possible, but it is more of a challenge, only reaching its full measure when the opportunity is shared.
For some of us – many of us? – finding a soulmate constitutes a bit of a hardship, however. And then, some of us – many of us? – find the special someone, only to be disappointed. The perfect love – and lover – is elusive. Joe King's words come to mind, "They say love hides behind every corner. I must be walking in circles."
To find the right love, again, explore and experiment if you must. The more men or women you meet, the more you get skilled at finding them and the more chances you will land the right one. In the process, lots of fun – and granted, some miseries – can be had.
To optimize the process, remember Arty Fischel's words, "The flower doesn't dream of the bee. The flower blooms, and the bee comes." Make sure you are ready. Thus, first, bloom. It takes years, sometimes decades, to do so.
No wonder Albert Ellis writes, "The art of love... is largely the art of persistence." But then, be sure not to wait an entire life. Time flies. Strike a balance. A partner is also one who sees the jewel in you and helps you do so – bloom. Beware again!
As you try to attract the one, it may be worth mentioning a few rules. Richard La Ruina writes in The Natural, "Over thousands of years men and women developed preferences for sexual partners based on criteria that allowed for the successful rearing of future generations. While men evolved the desire for (young, beautiful women with big breasts and beautiful smiles) – signs of fertility and health that would increase the likelihood of successful childrearing – women evolved differently: they developed a preference for men who would be able to protect their offspring and provide for them in an often dangerous and uncertain world." Women evolved to feel attraction for men at the top of the social totem pole – in other words, men of high status, the so-called alpha male. La Ruina further ascribes five key traits to the alpha male: a strong sense of self-belief, a strong physical presence, the ability and willingness to lead and make decisions, a cool, calm, and collected demeanor in high-pressure situations, and social intelligence (the ability to connect and communicate with others).
Pablo Picasso has this uncanny way of putting it, "It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction." Sure, but then remember humorist Evan Esar's words, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a rich widow." Again, strike a balance, that's where happiness lies; the find is yours only, all custom.
“True love is the soul's recognition of its counterpoint in another,” declares Rachel McAdams' character in the famous Wedding Crashers (screenplay by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher) scene, as she raises a glass of champagne, echoing Owen Wilson's character's take and rooting romance in comedy. A little cheesy indeed, can't you now tell?
"Love has no gender - compassion has no religion - character has no race," writes Abhijit Naskar in Either Civilized or Phobic: A Treatise on Homosexuality. DaShanne Stokes agrees, "The power of love is that it sees all people." All races, all species, all sexual inclinations, welcome onboard.
Now that you have a soulmate, you are in a position (figuratively, not literally, although who knows?) to build a family.
Per George Bernard Shaw, "A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” Nothing wrong with that. Enjoy!
Since, per David McKay, "No outside success can compensate for failure in the home," it is best to allocate time, energy, and resources to fostering a wonderful home and instilling a strong sense of family.
"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." Theodore Hesburgh seems to have a point.
Children. Only those who are parents can understand the immense joy they accrue. In a sense, parents must be sure to reciprocate. To the point of remembering Thomas Edison's words, "When a man dies, if he can pass enthusiasm to his children, he has left them an estate of incalculable value."
Warren Buffet smartly adds, "A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing."
The Value of Hard Work
Alright, now you have a passion, and you've determined it has the power to contribute to others' welfare (including your loved ones).
Time to get to work!
One of the most striking quotes on the subject is executive Robert Half's, "Laziness is a secret ingredient that goes into failure. But it’s only kept a secret from the person who fails." Powerful statement. Think of it this way, if you fail at anything, it means you have not worked enough. Keep going. More, always more. And you thought you did not have the brain or the abilities or even the luck? Think twice.
Inventor and genius Leonardo da Vinci agrees, "God sells us all things at the price of labor." Michelangelo also concurs, "If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all." Maya Angelou adds, "Nothing will work unless you do." To quote Thomas Edison, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Pablo Picasso echoes these very thoughts, "Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working." Insatiable, he is, and his life's contributions surely show as much. "Give me a museum and I’ll fill it," he's known to have said. No kidding… The artist is thought to have created about 50,000 artworks during his lifetime, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, and ceramics. Just about three pieces a day… Damn!
Volume matters. As highly quotable Thomas Edison puts it, "The real measure of success is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours." Adam Grant, in Originals: how non-conformists move the world, agrees: "…The most prolific people not only have the highest originality; they also generate their most original output during the periods in which they produce the largest volume … It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but that turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality. Original thinkers … will come up with many ideas that are strange mutations, dead ends and utter failures. The cost is worthwhile because they also generate a large pool of ideas—especially novel ideas."
He also writes, "When the London philharmonic orchestra chose the 50 greatest pieces of classical music, the list included six pieces by Mozart, five by Beethoven, and three by Bach. To generate a handful of masterworks, Mozart composed more than 600 pieces before his death at thirty-five, Beethoven produced 650 in his lifetime, and Bach wrote over a thousand… The more pieces a composer produces in a given five-year window, the greater the spike in the odds of a hit."
As you proceed with the work to elevate your passion and turn it into gold, contributing joy and disseminating happiness to all including self, remember Marva Collins's words, "Excellence is not an act, but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best." Helen Keller echoes this very thought, "We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough." Never stop trying. Do. Do it again, and again. Henry J. Kaiser has this humorous way of putting it, "When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt." Even better maybe, John McEnroe's saying, "I'll let the racket to the talking." Thomas Edison again, "Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits." Non-stop, the work and the dedication…
Luck and Circumstances
While luck and circumstances at times matter, they surely fail to qualify as impediments. Third US president Thomas Jefferson says it best, "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." Baseball Manager Tommy Lasorda has this stunning way of putting it, "The only way I’d worry about the weather is if it snows on our side of the field and not on theirs."
If luck or misfortune are no objects, in the same vein, age hardly matters. Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko captures the idea best, "Be equal to your talent, not your age. At times, let the gap between them be embarrassing." George Eliot rightly adds, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." Anthropologist Ashley Montagu is worth quoting a second time, "The idea is to die young as late as possible." Henry ford adds this insight, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." An unknown saying adds perspective, "Look on the bright side. No matter how old you are, you’re younger than you’ll ever be again."
Dealing with Problems and Mistakes
Now that you are willing and able to transcend luck and circumstances to work, if I may, your ass off, of course, but of course, you no doubt will face problems and conundrums of all sorts along the way and make many more mistakes than you'd like and even be willing to admit. At times, you may lose patience and get discouraged. No biggie. As psychiatrist Theodore Rubin puts it, "The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Mathematician Paul Erdos adds, "Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by fighting back." H.G. Wells is right on, "The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." Maybe not always, but way too often it is the case.
Problems are the way you build solutions. Think of obstacles as enablers or even better, follow Henry Ford's advice, "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Once again, food for thought…
At their core, "Problems are messages," writes Shakti Gawain. Chef Wolfgang Puck adds, "I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes." Maybe James Joyce puts it best, "Mistakes are the portal of discovery."
A different way of putting it comes courtesy of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, "I always view problems as opportunities in work clothes." Seen through that lens…
As you try to solve the problems or meet the challenges at hand, remember Ralph Nader's words, "Your best teacher is your last mistake." Learn from it, and go again.
Patience and Perseverance
Persevering is key. Writes Edward Eggleston, "Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure." Chemist O.A. Battista adds, "Patience is never more important than when you are at the edge of losing it." Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe agrees, "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." Abraham Lincoln advises, "Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end, you are sure to succeed."
Wave after wave, the tide.
Thomas Edison offers one more lovely quote, "Our greatest mistake lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." Interesting take on the matter: football Coach Vince Lombardi takes it one step further, "The harder you work, the harder it gets to surrender."
James Michener adds, "Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries." Winston Churchill shares a similar opinion, "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." Not without humor, Albert Einstein adds, " It’s not that I am so smart; it’s that I stay with problems longer." Well, he's being nice. Give most of us many lives, and relativity would likely have remained a mystery forever… Nonetheless, he's got a point.
All the hard work required to achieve victory can be quite stunning. As Abigail Van Buren writes, "If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires."
Work, Joy, and other Rewards
Work is not all pain, especially if you are passionate about it. To quote Thomas Edison again, "I find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success." Voltaire adds critical perspective, suggesting that work has/is its own reward(s). He writes, "Labor keeps us from three great evils: boredom, vice and poverty." Work may even help the timid! To quote Lady Bird Johnson, "The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." It may also spare us from stress. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos suggests that "Stress comes from ignoring things you shouldn’t be ignoring." Work surely has the potential to fill the void and make you less prone to ignorance.
As you proceed, have a solid appreciation for risk-taking.
Erica Jong smartly contributes, "And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more." Ray Bradbury adds, "You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
Wanna build wealth? Become an investor in stocks, only you will again have to be willing to take risks… Most things worthwhile require it. Starting your own company sure does. Just remember, though. The best startup's got to be... yours. Just do it!
In the end, it is your very ability to solve problems and create solutions that determines success. As John Foster Dulles puts it, "The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."
Mind botanist George Washington Carver's words, "Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." No excuse, no pretense, work.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau concludes, "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."
Dealing with the Impossible
So, you have a passion, which adds to social welfare, and work hard to turn it into a goldmine, only to find out that some objectives of yours were nuts. You know, impossible to achieve. Remember actress Audrey Hepburn's words, "Nothing is impossible; the word itself says “I’m possible!” Pablo Picasso agrees, "I am always doing things I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them." Pursue the wildest ambitions. As feminist Robin Morgan puts it, "Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible." Thomas Edison adds, "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Then, by any means, do not hesitate; astonish yourself.
One of the most pertinent quotes belongs to car pioneer Henry Ford, who said, "Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right."
As indicated above, as long as you are healthy, age should not instill in you a sense of the impossible either, of any kind. Louis Armstrong agrees, "Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them." To which I'd like to add:
Even dead, I'll be working…
To top it all off, isn't Walt Disney right on the money, "It’s kind of fun to do the impossible."
Of course, certain tasks or things do seem impossible. Become invisible, fly, run a thousand miles an hours, etc. Although, who knows? Maybe one day...
The Power of Imagination
Of course, faced with impossibilities of any and all sorts, you may invoke the power of your imagination, which can help transcend all kinds of resistance.
Per Albert Einstein, "Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions." As if to illustrate the point, Milton Berle writes, "If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door."
Imagination also qualifies as one sure way to instill progress. Henry Ford says as much, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Indeed, the inventor and the entrepreneur must think outside the box. Margaret Thatcher elaborates, "You cannot lead from the crowd."
Carl Sagan contributes, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Michelangelo walks the talk, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." A magnificent soul.
Thus, mind Ralph Waldo Emerson's most critical advice, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
And, in the process, recall sculptor Louise Nevelson's words, "All great innovations are built on rejections."
The Power of Humor
If the impossible remain stubbornly impossible and even your imagination seems to stall and thus can't help you reach your goal, then let this sense of humor of yours resonate. As Reba McEntire puts it, "To succeed in life you need a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone."
It sure can't hurt that, as Victor Borge puts it, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." Plus, to quote Milton Berle again, "Laughter is an instant vacation." No need to ask your boss for a day off…
Journalist Eric Sevareid writes, "Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor."
And the saddest is a life without. Think of it this way. Wanna be happy? Then humor can't hurt…
The Power of Now
So, you follow your passions in a quest to fulfill both self and the others, a wonderful calling, work hard and vanquish no less than the impossible in the process, fine. All sounds great. Just make sure you pursue this new life, do it all – now, here. Do not procrastinate.
As Eckhart Tolle puts it in The Power of Now, "Nothing exists outside the now" and "Beauty arises in the stillness of your presence." Adds Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Nothing is worth more than this day."
Martin Luther warns, "How soon not now becomes never."
This is why you shall take Agatha Christie's advice, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started" most seriously. Poet Charles Baudelaire adds perspective, "No task is a long one but the task on which one dare not start. It becomes a nightmare."
Lao Tzu reminds us best, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." Or, as Sir Richard Branson puts it, "Screw it, let’s do it!"
Beware, "Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand." (author unknown)
If getting started matters, getting finished as soon as possible is no less trivial. Engineer Nolan Bushnell advises, "The ultimate inspiration is the deadline." Leonard Bernstein seems to agree, "To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."
It's not just now, it's here… To quote comedic genius Groucho Marx, "I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal."
Now indeed is what matters most, and worry merely constitutes a travers and a misconception. Corrie Ten Boom puts it best, "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." William Ralph Inge adds, "Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due." Who needs to pay before any bill is due?
In the same vein, because now is all that matters – that's when and where we live – indecision, which amounts to procrastinating, is poison. Theologian Harvey Cox advises, "Not to decide is to decide." Mel Brooks observes, "He who hesitates is poor."
Now may not last long – just an instant in time. Yet remember H. Jackson Brown's words, "Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein."
Victor Hugo writes it most powerfully, "Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come." What if this idea is you?
Feed the Now and Here, nurture self. Grow. Learn. Remember Jim Rohn's words, "Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune." Walt Disney concludes, "Always be in the state of becoming."
Now that you are in a position to leverage your passion, contribute to others' welfare, and thrive in the process, you may find it easier to generate cash and build a fortune.
But remember Franklin D. Roosevelt's words first, "Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." Maya Angelou seems to be of a similar opinion. "You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you."
Of course, money is not all. An anonymous saying goes this way, "The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money." Eleanor Roosevelt adds, "He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all."
Epictetus has a whole different take, "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." Vicki Robin warns, "If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough."
Use your monies judiciously. Save and invest, preferably in stocks, since they tend to reward the risks incurred and offer some of the best returns. Avoid quick trades and speculations; they'll tend to erode, not extend, wealth, or worse – burn you. Instead, go long and wait, remembering Paul Samuelson's opinion, "Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas."
Save and invest some of your cash, but don't forget to spend some, as well. Enjoy some of the rewards. Jules Renard has this funny saying, "If money does not make you happy; give it back."
Which leads us to the next piece of advice, get into the habit of giving back. To quote Winston Churchill, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Now that you have money, which is, at least to an extent, power, remember Abraham Lincoln's words, "If you want to test a man’s character, give him power."
As you proceed, remember these few rules:
- "Give, even if you only have a little,"recommends Buddha.
- "He gives twice who gives promptly," Publilius Syrus reminds all.
- "He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help." Abraham Lincoln seems right on the money, if we may…
Albert Einstein adds perspective, "The world is a dangerous place, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it." Give - your money, your attention, your time and sweat.
Start to be happy… now. Jules Renard warns, "If one were to build the house of happiness, the largest space would be the waiting room." Everybody wants to be happy. We say, be happy now.
Thus, start working hard toward a passion of yours that may increase others' welfare, right away. Enjoy the very process of doing so. Buddha says it all, "There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path."
FUNanc!al and Happiness
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