A new year starts, and new, or rather old, questions re-emerge.
What should be the focus of this year? Or, perhaps, I would be better to ask, "will I find a focus this year?".
While I have managed to sporadically learn and do.
A long time friend passed away this passed year, and before passing we had several discussions around finding something "worth doing".
He came to the following key focal points in life while bored in the hospital:
- Understanding by doing
- Remove barriers to happiness
- self-reflection is required for self improvement
- creation is better than consumption
- people are more important than property or profits
- Learning is good
These points struck close to home with me, probably because we've grown together through many lunch time and after work discussions.
I like to think we were both heading toward a "way" that allows us to give more back to this world.
Richard Feynman's quote, "I can't understand what I cannot create", always struck a chord with me, and I feel that the above "understanding by doing" is tackling the same area. And "creation is better than consumption" covers this a bit as well, but pulls in some concern for the current "consumption" oriented culture we currently exist in. I struggle with this as well.
Regarding happiness, my belief has been that happiness cannot exist without sadness. I understand the desire to want to be happy and help make other's happy, but I wonder if it's not a zero sum game. Meaning that your past sadness is payment for your current happiness. At the same time however, I understand that a simple smile from a stranger can brighten your day. From the "a smile can change the world" perspective, perhaps the little things can add up to push the balance in happiness' favor, but it can be hard to see their effect.
It saddens me to think that it takes tragedy to initiate a re-evaluation of priorities. Hopefully, I will be able to harness this tragedy before it fades, and make a lasting change for the better. Can I take these axioms and refine them so that they can offer a guidepost to look to when I get lost? I hope so.