by GEORGE P.H.
Last summer, I went to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. This was a dream come true for me: Kiedis & Co. aren’t getting any younger and I absolutely had to see them live while they’re still touring.
Midway through the concert I realized that, at any given time, 5+ people in my immediate vicinity were using their phones. Everyone was instagramming, facebooking, foursquaring, texting…
They didn’t even stop when Under the Bridge – only one of the best songs ever – came on.
My first thought was, are you kidding me. These people paid good money to see a legendary band… but were more interested in telling their friends about the concert than actually watching it.
Then I remembered that it’s 2012 and this is normal. People live in their phones now.
But they really shouldn’t – and here’s why.
Internet Addicts Anonymous
I belong to the last generation of children who grew up without internet access. As a kid, I had to wait for my favorite cartoons to come on if I wanted to be entertained.
Every Sunday I’d stake out in the living room, waiting for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to come on at 11. If I missed an episode, I had to wait a whole week to see my favorite cartoon.
And if the T.V. wasn’t enough entertainment for me, I had to go read a book or find a creative way to keep myself occupied.
It’s different for today’s kids. They’ve got the Internet, video games and TiVo. They can choose to be entertained whenever they feel like it – which is not a bad thing in and of itself.
What’s bad is how addicted this generation has become to being stimulated. Now that most phones are internet-enabled, we’ve got constant access to all our favorite distractions – and we abuse the shiet out of that privilege.
Every day you see people Facebooking at work, watching shows on the bus and reading blogs at dinner. They can’t just enjoy the moment – they’re too used to being entertained all the time. Without their hourly fix of “fun”, they get jittery and distracted.
Yes, being able to have fun wherever you are is incredible, but it stops being incredible when you can’t stop doing it. Phones are a great way to stay entertained on the go but using them all the time will rob you of real-life experiences.
The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.
The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.
And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.
When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.
And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s only window
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band —“ he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you……’
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
by Henrik Edberg
I am 28 now. I don’t think about the past or regret things much these days.
But sometimes I wish that I had known some of things I have learned over the last few years a bit earlier. That perhaps there had been a self-improvement class in school. And in some ways there probably was.
Because some of these 16 things in this article a teacher probably spoke about in class. But I forgot about them or didn’t pay attention.
Some of it would probably not have stuck in my mind anyway. Or just been too far outside my reality at the time for me to accept and use.
But I still think that taking a few hours from all those German language classes and use them for some personal development classes would have been a good idea. Perhaps for just an hour a week in high school. It would probably be useful for many students and on a larger scale quite helpful for society in general.
So here are 16 things I wish they had taught me in school (or I just would like to have known about earlier).
1. The 80/20 rule.
This is one of the best ways to make better use of your time. The 80/20 rule – also known as The Pareto Principle – basically says that 80 percent of the value you will receive will come from 20 percent of your activities.
So a lot of what you do is probably not as useful or even necessary to do as you may think.
You can just drop – or vastly decrease the time you spend on – a whole bunch of things.
And if you do that you will have more time and energy to spend on those things that really brings your value, happiness, fulfilment and so on.
Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements was published in 1997. For many, The Four Agreements is a life-changing book, whose ideas come from the ancient Toltec wisdom of the native people of Southern Mexico. The Toltec were ‘people of knowledge’ – scientists and artists who created a society to explore and conserve the traditional spiritual knowledge and practices of their ancestors. The Toltec viewed science and spirit as part of the same entity, believing that all energy – material or ethereal – is derived from and governed by the universe. The simple ideas of The Four Agreements provide an inspirational code for life; a personal development model, and a template for personal development, behaviour, communications and relationships.
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”
Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.
Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.