Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome to the real world

When we're children, we are told that we can grow up to be anything we want. We are told the sky is the limit. We are told that everyone is special. If we are disabled, we are even told--if only through the actions of the adults around us--that this should not pose any hindrance to our functioning, and the world should bend over backwards so that we don't have to work harder or feel "different".

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where lying, cheating, and stealing are so rampant that no one feels they can trust their neighbor?

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where every time something doesn't go according to plan, someone decides to sue?

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where people leave passive aggressive notes demanding other people change their habits, rather than discussing the problem respectfully, face-to-face?

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where people regularly cheat the welfare system when they don't really need assistance?

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where people are so convinced that everything will work itself out that most people don't even bother to vote?

Is it any wonder that we live in a world where someone can somehow be smart enough to end up in a career making over $100K a year, but is still too ignorant to make ends meet because they have never been taught the difference between a "need" and a "want"?

I don't know what the answer to this problem is. But I know that the first step is to teach our kids to work hard and to take responsibility for their mistakes. Teach them to be mature, independent, thinking adults. Teach them to have empathy without throwing good sense out the window.

Above all, stop teaching them that they can have something for nothing, and stop teaching them that life is ever easy. You aren't doing them any favors.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Planting seeds of success

When I was a little girl, my grandfather had a garden. When I was very young, this amounted to an acre of land where they basically planted a small patch of some kind of beans or peas.

After my grandfather had ploughed up the yard, I can remember walking barefoot down the neat rows of long, piled up soil. My grandfather would punch a hole in the ground with his thumb, and I would drop in three beans.

One time, I asked him why we put three beans in instead of just one.

"Because some of them won't grow. This way, hopefully at least one will make it."

This seems like a great life philosophy to me. I figure that if you are constantly planting the seeds of success, it's inevitable that some of those seeds will start to bear fruit.

For the past few months I've been operating on this philosophy, and I think it may be changing my life for the better. I've stop looking for immediate results, and when one of my seeds does start to grow, I'm able to feel thankful for that small blessing, instead of feeling disappointed that the other seeds failed.

Basically, I'm more patient with myself and with the world. I'm less frustrated. In general, I'm happier. I highly recommend this paradigm shift for anyone who finds themselves stressing out at the "perfectionism" end of the scale, or frozen for fear of failure.