We all know what it feels like to be afraid of making mistakes. We hesitate, delay and ultimately choose to do nothing and then devise elaborate justifications for our inaction. Fear overcomes our courage. Yet we also know the feeling of making quick decisions that lead to embarrassing mistakes. In those cases, a little fear would have encouraged us to slow down and make better choices, and maybe even saved someone else from the mistake that we made. Fear, then, can have a negative or positive impact on our decision-making, depending on the situation.
Working with other people is hard if you like to work fast. You have to slow down, compromise and wait for people to catch up to your pace. For students who work on class projects this slower pace can be a brutal experience. Going alone is so much faster and you’re judged by your own efforts, not the efforts of others. Yet, cooperating with others brings a measure of long-term success that is much grander than what could have ever been created alone. Slowing down and pooling the talents of many people towards a common goal is worth the effort.
Finding our purpose in life is a confusing journey with competing forces acting against us. On the one hand, there’s the force of our family background and history telling us who we should be. And then there’s our hopes and dreams which inspire us to look ahead and be the author of our own future. Balancing these two forces, in right and honorable ways, is a life-long challenge.
Thinking about the right way to act requires patient and careful thought. Acting from a good conscience in this way conveys strength and confidence. But our conscience also makes us feel weak; oftentimes we don’t know what the right choices are and so we are plagued by indecision and fear. Doing the right thing becomes a burden too great to bear and we turn to our instincts to bail us out. Thinking before acting can be cowardly or brave, depending on the situation.
When we are being watched by others, we are compelled to do the right thing and that benefits the world. Being a role model has inherent value, but it is a difficult job that comes with significant sacrifice. It means that sometimes we can’t be ourselves and do what we really want. We must forgo our own needs to make other people happy. It’s hard to know when being a role model is worth it.
Love is a powerful force in the universe. That much is true. What’s unclear is just how powerful love is and whether it can and should be used as a tool to combat hate. Some say hate must be met with more of the same and that confrontation is the only reliable strategy to change human behavior for the better. Others believe the kinder, more gentle approach works best and we should put our egos aside and let love do the job.
Rarely do we achieve our goals by following the exact path we set at the beginning. Instead, we experience twists and turns, confront the unexpected and learn to adapt along the way. Unforeseen events sometimes inspire us to refocus and change our goals. Other times, we ignore distractions, push through and continue along the path with the original goal firmly fixed in our mind. We never really know when it is best to adapt our plans or when we should maintain focus in the midst of uncertainty.
Tough times greet all of us at different times and in varying degrees. They test us and force us to consider choices. Sometimes we choose to push through the difficulties with determined faith that we will emerge stronger at the other end. At other times we avoid hardship and embark on a different path that we think will bring us greater joy and success in the long run. We never know the best way to respond and must live with the consequences of our imperfect decisions.
It’s no secret that most kids tend towards ‘living for the moment’ rather than engaging in careful planning over their futures. Living in the now has its benefits; instant gratification, less anxiety and a sense of freedom. Worrying about what happens tomorrow ruins the present. But maybe a little worry over the future is a good thing and makes people carefully consider their options in the moment to make sure the right choices are made and long-term happiness is secured.
Negative people are everywhere, whether it be in the classroom, at home or at the workplace. We often feel trapped and expected to be patient with people who bring us down. Sometimes we’re forced to flee these situations, especially when negativity turns to hate. Escape from negative people can preserve our integrity and save our energies for people who bring out the best in us. We must all make smart choices about the people with whom we associate. After all, our happiness is at stake.
Everybody wants success, however it is defined. That is clear. The confusion comes when we think about the best way to go about getting success. Some people carry the logic that success will only come from taking risks and that if we don’t learn to push our comfort zone, then we’re destined never to achieve anything. Others conclude that by avoiding risks and taking the slow cautious approach, we can achieve great successes over time. Life is a challenge to blend these two approaches in a way that maximizes our chances for success.
Setting goals forces us to picture success before it happens. If we are able to create a picture of what success looks like, then we are more likely to achieve it. Seeing the end motivates the beginning of the journey. But it is often the case that journeys take unexpected turns and force us to redirect our plans towards goals different than what we had at the start. The challenge then becomes how to best change our goals along the way and pursue the proper end that reveals itself over time. Living life this way demands less clarity and more patience.