Strive For What You Become

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As we get older, we continue to see the world through a more mature pair of eyes. We can watch younger individuals act and think the way we used to at their age and try to lend some guidance in order to help them avoid some of the same mistakes we made. Of course younger folks have a difficult time listening to older folks just like we did when we were their age. However that never stops us from trying to help them – because we care about their well being! And if young people develop good values early, their lives will be enriched for years to come.

I have always been intrigued by reading, listening to or watching the biographies of other so called successful people who have or still roam our planet. Everyone seems to be searching for something just out of their reach for most of their lives. It could be notoriety, stardom, lots of money or material things. It doesn't matter what it is that they search for. But once they get whatever it is, they must have more of the same or something bigger.

This week's lesson was inspired by watching a biography on TV about Britney Spears and subsequently watching the movie "Walk the Line" about the late Johnny Cash. Both of these individual's came from poor families and had fathers who were alcoholics. Both of them were very talented and overcame whatever odds necessary to succeed. And once each of them paid the price of success and "made it" to fame and riches, they were not very happy campers within their own skins.

Very few of us will become rich and famous during our lifetimes. However, whatever it is that gets us up in the morning to work hard and strive for each and day – our ultimate goal should be as follows: "To become the BEST PERSON we could be to ourselves and to others." Too often we are chasing after dreams and wants that don't necessarily make us a BETTER PERSON. We see this often in professional sports. Young and talented kids work so hard to become the best in their sport, with the hopes of a professional career full of fame and riches. Along the way they compromise their health; their values; and their relationships to make it BIG. Once they have achieved their dreams, the next thing you know you are reading about them getting arrested for weapons possession; drug abuse; or DUI offenses. At the extreme, some even commit felonies and go to jail. They achieved stardom, but they failed at developing into a law abiding citizen; loyal spouse; or devoted parent.

Life can stink for all of us at times. But becoming the BEST PERSON we could be to ourselves and others has to be one of the worthiest goals we could achieve in life. If individuals made it a priority to write down what values are most important in their life; and follow these fundamental values every single day – their choices would be easier to make and their path through life would be much clearer. There are always temptations to compromise your honesty and values – however by doing so you are just setting yourself up for guilt; depression; loss of sleep and the ruination of relationships. Living a life without compromising your values, is equivalent to always having fresh oxygen to breathe while others are choking on their lies and dodging catastrophes every day.

If you had to make an educated guess, do you think that most of our corporate and government leaders have a clear set of values and fundamentals to live by? Do you think that these people in powerful positions are compromising their values when they make corporate decisions or pass laws that affect millions of loyal employees or tax payers? When you read about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent, lobbying for laws that give companies an unfair advantage at the taxpayer's expense, how do you feel? Do these individuals who make these compromises become the BEST they can be for themselves and for others? I think NOT!

Big homes, expensive cars and fancy clothes are not prerequisites for proud people with high values. It's quite unfortunate that power, fame and money can be used like casino chips to buy influence. However, I am a firm believer that regardless of how many chips you can accumulate, you can't buy a happy life with them. If you hurt yourself and others to get what you want – misery will follow you like a shadow and haunt you like a ghost.

One of the few ways for someone to accomplish sustained happiness in life is to always strive to become a better PERSON throughout their journey. It's critical to establish fundamental values and guidelines to live by. Always treat yourself and others with respect. Build a high self-esteem that makes you proud to look in the mirror. Touch the lives of others and help them to improve themselves. Become the BEST PERSON you can be and you have a better chance that happiness and harmony will follow you like a shadow.

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