There is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. –George Bernard Shaw
George may seem a little harsh here towards the people who spend their time whining and complaining that life isn’t fair and that there’s nothing to do, but when you consider just how high the stakes are, it seems that harshness may be the most effective way to pull some people out of their complaining mode and into an active one.
There is so much to do in this world, so many ways to contribute. And we don’t always have to be actively contributing–sometimes finding a quiet place and reading for a few hours is the best thing we can do for ourselves and others. We all have purposes for being here–one of our most important tasks is to find the purpose or purposes that we can and should be fulfilling now, and get to it. That’s how we find happiness, by doing something that brings us fulfillment and that serves other human beings. Happiness doesn’t just come to us when we sit around in the same spot, waiting for it to come and do its thing in our lives.
I’m not a professional runner, but I do like to run in races. And one thing that I know is that at the end of any race, I want to have nothing left. I want to know that I gave my all out there on the track or on the course, and I know that the more I have left in me when I finish, the faster I could have gone–but didn’t–while I was running. I know that once the race is over I’ll have time to recover, but I won’t have the chance to go back out there and improve my performance.
Life is like that. We get one shot in the big picture, but in the little daily picture, we get chance after chance after chance to excel and to make something special of our lives and of the people we are. When my life’s over, I want to look back and smile and say “I did all I could, I think, with what I was given, and even more than others who were given similar situations. I truly believe I gave life the best I had to give it.”
Questions to consider:
- Why is it so easy to sit around and complain? How is the tendency to complain related to the concept of responsibility?
- In your experience, which are your better times: the active ones or the passive ones?
- How can we find a balance between action and rest and recuperation? How does the Zen concept of “going with the flow of life” and acceptance fit in with an active lifestyle?
For further thought:
The need to make wise choices encompasses every area of our lives. Since we have time for only a limited amount of stuff, we need to choose wisely what stuff we’re going to allow to take up that time. Since we have only a limited amount of time to spend with friends or to engage in leisure activities, we need to choose our friends and our activities wisely. -Elaine St. James