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I like talking to people, different kinds if you may. See, I am what most of you would call a people person. Besides earning me a degree, being a Microbiologist and spending a significant portion of my past years studying those little organisms has taught me that; there is always more to something than we can see. As a result, I always love and embrace new ideas and perspectives because this usually comes with new lessons and experiences.
We are all a product of our environments; balance is talent.…
In one of our conversations, one of my friends casually suggested that “Wouldn’t it be awesome to raise a child by creating positive lessons and experiences such that the kid knows no hate, jealousy, resentment and all those negative attributes we all struggle with. Like, instill positivism in them since day one, disabling the common undesired traits, but also making them aware that, although that’s how one should be, it’s not how most people out there are.” And another said, “I look forward to a day in which my kid messes up, and the first thought he/she thinks of is that ‘I need to call Dad’ rather than ‘Dad’s going to kill me’ when he finds out.” Beautiful, isn’t it?
Although these two scenarios were days, and probably months apart, they stuck somewhere in there and somehow I found a way to associate them and draw a lesson from it. We are the product of our environment. Bronnie, the author of “The Top Five Regrets of The Dying” in one of the chapters narrates the story of Anthony. A person who’d become consumed by a life of partying, drugs, and reckless behavior; one who had become a product of his environment. Bronnie sums up the chapter saying, “if we truly are the outcomes of the environment, the best we should do is to choose the right environments.”
People can be toxic, and it takes courage to call it out, sometimes it takes painful experiences and others, the sheer urge to remain pragmatic. More importantly, it takes an awful lot of courage to call out the toxicity whenever it involves what people genuinely feel. We, as men, are known for influencing each other negatively in most cases, but on a superficial level, for instance, I will quickly call my friend for a beer or two, but rarely call the same friend during those vulnerable times. Men will rarely talk about their feelings, and that is not because they don’t want to, but because that’s how it is. The society dictates men must “be hardy”, my high school deputy loved that phrase…, and strong, and sturdy, and resilient, and; well, you get the point!
Fear and greed are the two human elements that control the world today. People will work for fear of becoming broke yet when you give people more money, and they increase their spending. Everyone wants to be acceptable in society, and sometimes that means being a whole other version of ourselves. I read somewhere today “respecting yourself is often viewed as disrespectful by others. The more you learn to stand your ground, the more you will be viewed as disrespectful. This almost always occurs when you no longer let people take advantage of you.”
Live this life, enjoying every moment of it. That is, as Zeno of Elea would say, “such an easy task yet so hard” because nobody wants to be vulnerable, yet we so much want to be understood. Express your feelings; there is no more significant regret than failing to act on something you once genuinely felt… the potential is infinite. Do not be so focused on the past or too tied up in imagination that you fail to recognize what you have, right now, at the moment.
My dad once said that true happiness is finding joy at the moment, knowing that many things could’ve gone wrong; but they always don’t. Please take a moment and reflect, appreciate what you have, now and do not shy from it. The biggest lesson I learnt from Bronnie’s book; if you are genuinely seeking life’s true happiness, “It’s only the little things that matter”; a stranger’s compliment, a random wink, an unkind conductor… those that happen in the moment!!!