Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Game of Life

The following is one of the papers I wrote for my Writing class this past summer. They all fall under the category of Rantings.

This paper had a different introduction, but it is essentially life lessons I wish I could teach everyone:

Know who you are both physically and mentally, which will enable you to behave properly and avoid danger. You need an abiding knowledge of your mind and personality and the ways in which they affect your life. Self-knowledge is essential to making important life choices, such as career or marriage. The best way of getting to know yourself is to spend time in solitude. People enjoy different amounts of alone time, but you must be comfortable enough with your own thoughts to spend time alone. It’s easy to get caught up in the roles we take on when others are around, so it is useful to step outside those roles for a short time. Being able to spend time alone implies maturity, as Einstein once said, “Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.”

While comfort with being alone is necessary, you must also learn to work as part of a team. In working with others, you learn to deal with problems and that differing points of view can both be correct. The strengths of some members can make up for the weaknesses of others. It is important that all team members exert the right amount of influence on the team. So while there may be a leader, all members still need to have input and decision-making ability.

Cultivate the discipline to set meaningful goals and the creativity and resourcefulness to find a way to reach those goals. When you set, strive for and reach a goal, you have not only accomplished what you set out to do, but gained some pride and self-assuredness along the way.
Keep your common sense, street smarts and critical thinking skills in shape. All the factual knowledge in the world is not useful unless it can be applied to the real world and used to solve problems. We have computers to calculate, record and sort information for us. We need people to utilize this information in new and innovative ways. Being able to think this way will help you discern what you can believe and what you should skeptical about.

Know that you are self-reliant and have an independent sense of responsibility. Being able to take care of yourself and maintain your own household is remarkably empowering. Knowing that you don’t have to rely on someone else to take care of you will prevent you from having to compromise your self-worth or values to keep the relationship intact.

Appreciate the accomplishments of others. It’s almost the opposite of jealousy, which puts us at odds with another person because they have something we do not. If we can step back and realize they are successful for many different reasons, it’s easy to see how we can reach success as well. Luck, skill and determination all play a part in accomplishment, although many people see just one of these as the reason that others are more successful.

Respect those with other points of view and tolerate people who are profoundly different from you. People often feel threatened by those who are different because they see them as competition, or they think only one way, race or religion can be the right way. There is no need to compete with everyone, since someone else’s gain is not always your loss. For the most part, we have evolved beyond ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and live in a semi-cooperative society.

Find and nurture your creative abilities and also your sense of humor, especially if it is unique. These are some of the most diverse qualities of the Earth’s population. Some of the most highly prized items in the world come from someone’s creativity, sense of humor or both.

Have the humility to recognize your own weaknesses and room for growth. Humility is often underrated or misinterpreted as a weakness. Actually, it is the stronger person who can recognize their flaws, because only then can true improvement begin. Posturing and intimidation work well in the animal kingdom, but not when dealing with people. Humility is also the lack of selfishness, realizing that there is a greater good to be served than oneself.

I suppose we all have life lessons we wish we could impart to others. But usually, people can’t learn a meaningful lesson without having a difficult experience themselves.

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