It takes a while before a man realizes that he is going to die some day. Some people never become conscious of their mortality and continue to waste their days until the very last moment. Drug consumption, including alcohol, is a failed attempt to appease the anxiety created by the fundamental truth that time moves in only one direction.
Instead of anxiety
that your days are limited is a precondition for making the best use of
your time. With happiness as a long-term goal, personal growth becomes a
short-term objective. With longevity as a desirable aim, good nutrition
becomes a crucial element of the good life. The trend is given by
Nature, but each individual must define his own strategy.
understanding of the fact that each passing day is irrecoverable exerts
enormous pressure on the insecure. They wonder incessantly if they are
doing the right thing or enough of it. They speculate about a myriad of
other activities that they could be carrying out instead. They terrorize
themselves with statistics of who is doing what, how fast, and how
Should we let anxiety drive our lives? In the pursuit of
our goals, how can we strike the optimal balance between peace of mind
and personal growth? An hour always has sixty minutes and every new day
offers us another twenty-four hours. Exaggerated time-consciousness and
focus on achievement may lead men to a psychological misery not better
than the destitution of the idler.
The path to happiness should be
first drawn with charcoals and then brought to life with oil colours. We
learn as we walk. Making occasional mistakes is inescapable as we sometimes take the
wrong turn of the road. Nobody possesses the ability to make all the
No man can at the same time concentrate all
resources on his future and enjoy the hours of the present. Each
individual is born and raised in different circumstances. Genetic,
family, and personal qualities vary heavily from one person to the next,
even within the same family. The philosophical approach to happiness
should not deviate from the hard rules of reality.
young man who, growing in the most favourable environment, identifies
his lifetime ambitions when he is fifteen years old. He may well spend
the rest of his life pursuing his goals, but there is no guarantee that
he will achieve them. Anyone entering a professional field has to learn
the trade and assimilate its written and unwritten rules.
When progress comes to a standstill
or later, lack of knowledge, bad luck or misunderstandings will slow
down his professional progress or bring it to a complete standstill. Any
biography that you may read will provide evidence of the universality
of this principle. Trains stop from time to time, careers stall, and
fortunes are sometimes lost.
Occasionally, evil forces may play a
role in the demise of a great ambition, but those cases are more rare
than popular accounts tend to portray. More often than not,
discouragement is the visceral response to failure. Summer grows the
seeds nourished by spring rain and winter kills the trees weakened by
autumn storms. However, when it comes to human beings, our mental
versatility allows us to develop extreme resiliency and surmount all
What is the best approach to adapt the rhythm of
our personal growth to our own conditions and situations? Can we define
a formula that applies to all men, all countries, and all historical
periods? Experience has taught me that best strategy is to identify your
target, start moving immediately towards it, and correct mistakes along
Relentless action will take you farther on any road you
choose, but the crucial aspect in the happiness quest might not be
motivation but efficiency. Everybody can raise his motivation level, at
least for a while, by attending rallies and listening to speeches. You
can chant and dance around, you can dream and speak your heart out, but
very little will be achieved.
Other people may support your
endeavours or oppose your initiatives, but in the long-term, their
actions play only a minor role, like the noise of a train running on its
track. Indeed, the sound accompanies the train, but what moves the
wagons is the engine, not the noise.
More important than motivation
Discard motivation and let
action drive you to a better life. What you do counts more than what you
dream about. Gaining efficiency and speed on your path to happiness are
desirable effects connected to the choice and extent of your actions.
If you wish, spend some time cultivating your motivation, but do not let
it develop into a game of its own. Talking is not tantamount to doing.
and cheap mistakes are the cardinal accelerator of human success.
Inexpensive errors are the sweetest way to happiness, in particular when
those errors are rapidly admitted and corrected. Learn a lesson from
each of them and avoid repeating the cause and effect. This factor alone
can compound the positive effects of your work and lead you to levels
of achievement that you previously thought beyond your reach.
experience acquired in a few years of continuous action will teach you
more than several decades of exquisite motivational talks. Reality is
too complex to be reduced to pure theory. This is why personal growth
can be achieved only through experience.
Knowledge is spread in
the market like minerals are contained in sea water. If you wish to
become a great surfer, you will have to taste the water hundreds of
times. Your reflexes will become faster as you learn how to profit from
the changing wind.
In your search of happiness, let practice take
precedence over speculation. From mistakes, you gain insight and a
sharper vision, while empty talk will just eat up your limited time.
Choose the way of action.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
Image by Joao Maximo under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us