The perception that achievement should be either immediate or impossible is wrong. Important things frequently demand substantial time, as it is the case of relationships. It makes no sense to put pressure on the wrong places. Some things take as long as they take. The process of reaching our goals is to be enjoyed, not frivolously discarded as a waste of time.
Rationality can only be developed
like learning a foreign language, require months or years of effort. In
life, you have plenty of time to find your own way. If you think that
this is not the case, check your priorities and simplify your
"Some talents are innate and others are acquired
through practice," wrote Aristotle in the year 328 B.C. "While the
movement of animals is governed by the law of cause and effect, the
essential characteristic of human beings, rationality, can only be developed
Centuries of decay followed the fall of the Roman
Empire. For generations, fear replaced rational discourse as the primary
means of human interaction. In many fields, knowledge remained
inaccessible to the great majority of the population. As a result, life
expectancy dramatically decreased.
Conditions improved in the
13th century. The transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance
opened a wide range of opportunities for talented individuals. Towns
attracted tradesmen and merchants, who manufactured utensils, made
clothes, and built houses.
In Italian cities, like Florence and
Venice, the wealth created by entrepreneurs brought into existence a
market for artists. Upward social mobility became possible to an
important segment of the population in the time of the great Renaissance
artists, such as Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Opportunities for personal
development have multiplied
In our days,
despite problems and difficulties, opportunities for personal
development have multiplied in many countries to the extent that they
are practically endless, making easier for every individual to explore
the fields in which he is interested and find his own path.
of men and women are now enjoying levels of prosperity that would have
been unthinkable for the wealthiest prince in the Middle Ages. The
advent of the internet and the global economy are tearing down barriers
to entrepreneurship. We are living at the beginning of a new period of
economic growth that may offer countless opportunities for each person
to determine his own future.
The 21st century is the age of the
empowered individual. We inhabit an environment where many businesses
can be started with negligible upfront investment. Innumerable doors are
open to personal initiative and skills, giving each of us almost
infinite opportunities to find our own way towards happiness and
Business has become international, but the low-cost of
internet communication gives us instant access to all corners of the
earth. If you feel short-changed in any way, make a pause and look at
things with perspective. If you are lucky enough to live in an
industrial economy, you will not lack chances for personal development.
Without activity, there
is no motion
moments of pessimism, remind yourself that the digital media are
decreasing educational costs for everyone, that information about job
openings is available on line, that inexpensive software applications
are readily available, and that the cost of incorporating a company
remains low in many jurisdictions. Chances are that you have more
opportunities than you think.
"Materials and substances are not
enough to produce change," observed Aristotle. "The fact that something
can be transformed, does not mean that it will. Without activity, there
is no motion." Let us devote our days to turning what we have into
something more valuable. Let your willingness to perceive opportunities
turn yourself into a motor of change.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
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