"Men can perish out of excessive endeavours to preserve what has little value," wrote the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu in the year 520 B.C. In our days, it seems that many are indeed willing to waste their lives by devoting endless efforts to helping people who refuse to be helped.
Have you ever wondered why human beings spend time on activities that have zero chance of leading to positive results? These three are examples of hopeless situations:
- Correcting the same mistake repeatedly instead of eliminating its cause once and for all.
- Cleaning up the mess that other people have created and that they could have easily prevented if they had listened to your advice.
- Making countless attempts using the same ineffectual method and feeling depressed about the negative results.
Minimalism and disengagement are rational responses to excessive demands on our time, energy, or resources. No matter how you look at it, welcoming more trouble than you can handle is not a policy conductive to happiness. Helping others is fine but you should try to do it without jeopardizing the basis of your existence. Otherwise, the solution might be worse than the problem.
- When a borrowed weight becomes too heavy to carry, consider returning it to its legitimate owner. Disengage and do less.
- When you are working without measure on matters that consume every hour of your leisure, reassess their importance and reduce them to proper size. Restrain and minimize.
[Image by teclasorg under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]