Energy is used most effectively when applied to a specific goal. Gasoline engines propel cars, but little is achieved by pouring fuel on the ground and setting it on fire. When coal stoves were still being used, most people preferred to heat one room in the house to a warm temperature rather than heat all rooms just a little bit.
The most advantageous choice
Nature demands neither concentration nor disaggregation of
resources. Rivers that run in the same direction might merge their
flows, but frequently, they don't. During a fire in the savannah,
animals perfectly capable of running alone, join elephants in a stampede
and get crushed every bone.
The capacity to determine goals and
assess alternatives is uniquely human. Everyday, we make choices, hour
by hour, selecting on each occasion the most advantageous option amongst
the countless offered by life.
In order to reduce complexity, we
try to automatize as many decisions as possible. When we drive to work,
we usually take the same road. When we go out for dinner with friends,
we often go to the same restaurant.
Routine works fine to get
repetitive tasks done, but it cannot be trusted for life's fundamental
choices. A woman seldom falls in love with a man just because he happens
to be her neighbour. Students rarely decide to study medicine just
because their dorm lies next to a hospital.
Making the right
choices and following them through leads to happiness, barring cases of
extreme bad luck and catastrophes. Who knows what he wants from life,
has no difficulty making decisions and will rarely suffer from excessive stress. If consequences prove disappointing,
he will simply rectify his mistake and move on.
On the other
hand, deciding on fundamental matters is hard for those who lack a clear
vision of the future. Confronted with a multiplicity of paths, pilgrims
always know what to ask, which is, for random walkers, an impossible
Unmade choices have devastating results. Anxiety and
diffuse fear reign in the realm where all things are relative. Energy is
consumed by doubt and half-hearted actions, wasted throughout. Without
goals, there is no focus; without consistency, no resiliency to
withstand even minor adversities.
Man needs stable convictions
and non-contradictory personal objectives in order to live his days to
the fullest. Otherwise, psychological disintegration will soon put an
end to his every aspiration.
Sound design and dependable
workmanship keep buildings in good shape for decades. Consistency of
purpose provides the structure for a lifetime of happiness. Against
tornadoes, wise men put up concrete walls; against indecision, long-term
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For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books