>> Saturday, June 6, 2009
Aron asked: Ok, question, I developed a personal philosophy statement and I feel like it will lead me on the right path. But, I think it needs on update, any thoughts on my personal philosophy statement?
First, Aron, I have to say, you don't need endorsement of a personal philosophy statement. I mean, the whole idea is that the philosophy statement is a reflection of what's important to you, what you believe, how you want to live your life. Truth is, no one has the right to tell you what the right path is for you.
You asked my opinion and I'll tell it to you, but I urge you not to base your opinion, particularly if it veers from what you feel is right, on what I or anyone else says. Whatever you put there should be from your heart and reflect what you believe.
You asked me what I thought. First, I think you have lofty and worthwhile goals. I never fault anyone for trying to be part of the solution, for trying to make the world better. Honesty, humility, gratitude, conscientiousness - these are all good things and I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with pursuing them.
I do have few thoughts on some of the specifics.
First, a some things are somewhat idealistic but also, in my opinion, unrealistic. I don't think, for instance, you can realistically vow never to hurt anyone (especially if you're unfailingly honest). You can certainly try to keep it to a minimum and vow never to hurt someone unnecessarily, but I think you're asking the impossible to expect never to hurt anyone.
Living only in the present also seems out of touch with your lofty goals to make the world better. There's nothing wrong with doing the right things now but, without an eye to shaping the future, it's easy to lose the path. Equally destructive is failing to learn from the past. No sense making a mistake someone's already made before if you don't have to. However, I agree that obsessing about the future or the past is not healthy.
Mostly, though, I'm concerned. Altruism is all well and good, but you've included nothing for yourself, nothing of yourself. Living for others with no concern for yourself - well, I can tell you from experience that it's not healthy. You lose your balance, you end up resentful against the things that matter most. In my opinion, you need things for yourself, too, no matter what you want to give to the world. Entertainment, hobbies, interests, time that you reserve to recharge your batteries before sallying forth to save the world.
The world's got problems, yes, but it's beautiful too. You are a part of it and should spend some time enjoying it. Otherwise, what are you saving it for?
In my opinion.