In the whirlwind of our ever-demanding lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly yearning for more – more success, more possessions, more experiences.
However, the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus offers a timeless piece of wisdom:
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
This profound statement underlines the importance of gratitude and contentment.
Let’s explore this concept through three relatable examples.
### 1. **The Career Ladder Climb**
Imagine Sarah, a young, ambitious marketing executive.
She worked tirelessly to land her current position at a renowned firm.
During her university years, she dreamed of this day – working with big brands, earning a respectable salary, and being part of a dynamic team.
However, now immersed in her job, Sarah often finds herself enviously eyeing the higher managerial roles, feeling restless and unsatisfied.
Here, Epicurus’ quote serves as a gentle reminder for Sarah to appreciate her journey and achievements.
Not long ago, she yearned for exactly what she has now.
By refocusing on the present, acknowledging her hard work and the goals she has already attained, Sarah can find fulfillment and joy in her current role, even as she ambitiously plans for the future.
### 2. **The Pursuit of Material Wealth**
Consider the story of Alex, who once dreamed of owning a luxury car.
After years of saving, he finally purchases his dream vehicle.
Yet, within months, the excitement fades.
Alex starts noticing even more expensive and luxurious cars on the road, and his once-dream car no longer brings him the same joy.
Epicurus’ philosophy highlights the fleeting nature of such desires.
Alex’s initial longing for the car was a source of motivation and excitement, but once attained, it quickly lost its luster.
The lesson here is about finding a balance between aspiration and contentment.
While it’s natural to desire nice things, it’s equally important to cherish and appreciate what we have achieved and possess.
### 3. **Personal Relationships and Social Media Envy**
Finally, let’s talk about Emily, an avid social media user.
She often finds herself scrolling through posts, feeling envious of others’ seemingly perfect relationships, vacations, and lifestyles.
This envy overshadows her own happy, loving relationship and enjoyable life experiences.
In this scenario, Epicurus’ words remind Emily to appreciate the real-life connections and moments she cherishes.
The joy and satisfaction in her life can easily be overshadowed by the allure of what others have.
Recognizing the value in her experiences and relationships, the ones she once longed for, can bring back the joy and gratitude that social media envy often diminishes.
Epicurus’ statement is more than just a call to be grateful; it’s a profound insight into human psychology.
It’s about recognizing the beauty in what we have now, remembering our past desires, and finding contentment in the present.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aspire for more, but rather, we should not let our future ambitions cloud the appreciation of our current blessings.
By mastering this art of appreciation, we can lead more fulfilling and happier lives.
Dr. Joe Vitale
Happy New Year!
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Happy New Year!
Imagine you’re in a room with the curtains drawn, shrouded in darkness. The very act of thinking about opening the curtains to let the light in can be likened to having a ‘good thought’. This thought is the initial spark, the first realization that there’s an opportunity for change, for something better.
In daily life, this can be compared to the moment you decide to change a habit, perhaps giving up a detrimental vice or adopting a new positive routine. Let’s say you’ve been feeling sluggish lately due to a lack of exercise. The ‘good thought’ in this case might be the recognition that you need to be more active and the idea of joining a local gym or taking up jogging.
**2. A Good Word**
Returning to the dark room analogy, now that you’ve had the thought of opening the curtains, voicing it out loud makes it more real. Sharing it with someone – “I think I’ll let some light in” – transforms it from a mere thought into a declared intention. This is the ‘good word’.
In the context of our exercise example, this would be the moment you share your fitness plans with a friend or family member, or perhaps when you seek advice on the best running shoes. Expressing our intentions often adds a layer of commitment to them. It’s as if by voicing them, we are halfway to turning them into a reality.
**3. A Good Deed**
Finally, physically drawing back the curtains and flooding the room with light is the culmination, the ‘good deed’. This act transforms the environment, changing it from a place of darkness to one filled with brightness and warmth.
To continue with our fitness analogy, this step is when you actually lace up those running shoes and step out the door for your first jog or when you attend your first gym session. It’s the manifestation of your thought and word into tangible action, bringing about a real and positive change in your life.
Nietzsche’s quote beautifully illustrates the progression from introspection to action. Starting with the inception of a positive idea, progressing to the commitment through verbalization, and culminating in a tangible act that ushers in change. His metaphorical journey from ‘darkness’ to ‘paradise’ can be applied to numerous aspects of our lives.
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”– Napoleon Hill
One version is from Mulhammed Ali, who said –“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.’
Let’s take a real-world example: Walt Disney.
And how about J.K. Rowling?
But that’s just the starting point.
And note the word choice made by Hill in his famous quote.
Going for your dreams brings life; giving up brings death.