Monday, March 15, 2010


DHS 124

A quiet day of sitting at home reading and thinking. Didn't leave the house except for my 5 mile run.

"Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get."
Dale Carnegie

"Our duty as men is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Speaking of Dale Carnegie, just before reading some of his book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, i had just finished listening to some Tony Robbins. It's funny, i could listen to Tony every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of him. I love his message — even though a half-decade of listening hasn't improved my life one gazillionth of a micro-nanometer.

Anyhow, at first i thought the below were saying different things, but the more i thought about it, i think they are in complete agreement.

Tony says a lot of life is outside of our control, but, whether we realize we are doing it or not, in all situations we are stepping ourselves through this process:

1) What do you focus on?
2) What meaning do you give it?
3) What action do you take in response?

Dale says handling problems is a simple three step process:

1) Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can possibly happen?"
2) Reconcile yourself to accepting that worst case.
3) From that time on, calmly, but persistently, work to improve that worst case.

Tony is adamant, don't focus on the negative. Focus on the positive, the stuff that brings you power and happiness. Don't identify something as a problem, rather look at it as an opportunity. Then only impute meanings that add benefit to your life. And then take action based on those positive thoughts and beneficial meanings.

Dale takes the opposite tack. Focus on the worst possible scenario and reconcile yourself to accepting that as the final outcome. Once you do that you can say, if this is the worst that can happen, and i can accept it, it isn't all that bad — and i can certainly improve on it if i really, really try.

They are saying it in different ways, but i think they are really asking you to do the same thing. Interesting. But, i didn't mean to get side-tracked with this. I really only wanted to say how much i love the first two quotes.

Success and happiness are not necessarily co-players in our lives. We can be wildly successful yet as unhappy as a stuck pig heading to the roast. You can also be a complete failure yet find yourself unbelievably happy when you realize that what you got instead was what you really wanted in the core of your heart.

And i could easily say that Pierre has hit my philosophy right on the head. "Our duty as men is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation." He doesn't say we could lead better lives if we accept this. He doesn't say we might be happier if we accept this. He says it is our duty. Our DUTY. It is our duty to grow, to move forward, to advance who and what we are, to continually stretch our envelopes and challenge our limits and abilities. Someone else said the same thing when he talked about those who dare to go too far.

It is your duty to be the best you can possibly be. No, a little stronger... it is your duty to strive to be better than you can even conceive of. And after you advance to a place where you can conceive it, to move the bar out of sight again and start over.

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