Greatness implies Loneliness

People are always coming and going in and out of life. This happens especially if we choose to strive for change and self-improvement.

Our perception and ideals would continue to change, and the people we use to hang out with no longer share the same feelings. In worse scenario, they could become incapable of understanding and communicating with our newer character, changed perspective. Additionally, when our behaviors change, others will distance themselves from us as they reject us for being “different”. They may also envy us, wish us bad luck, try to deter us, as we strive for success… unfortunately. Of course we wish for them to come along together, but we all walk a different path in life. That is something must be accepted in life.

People fear difference. Sometimes people limit themselves because they are afraid to be different.

Consequently, it gets lonelier the more we change and try to overcome ourselves, as we consistently shed the self that was yesterday’s. Thus, the dilemma for each of us…

In the face of loneliness, how do I respond?
Can I maintain myself with confidence?
Or will I choose conformity out of fear?
Can I presevere, knowing it will only get more difficult, more lonely?
Or will I take the easy way out instead (by conforming)?
And worst case, will I be okay with the fact that no one in the world can understand me?

Let me share this quote:

Anybody can be famous
Fame is cheap
Fame is easy
Fame is fleeting,
Try achieving greatness.

Greatness is hard
Greatness is lonely
Greatness is work
Greatness is humbling
Greatness is a responsibility and greatness lasts forever,
you don’t want greatness do you?

Therefore, greatness requires determination and perseverance. Striving for greatness is a true test of ourselves, and that’s why we need to know who ourselves really are and what we want.

Also therefore, greatness is only achieved by only so few in this history of man. I ask myself, would it be possible for the entire mankind to reach greatness? I do no know. It does not seem so from the way things are, but if only we can, then greatness may not be so lonely.

For those of us who choose greatness, we can safely assume the individuals who stay with us by our side on this path will be the greatest companions we will ever encounter in life. Encounter with these individuals are truly invaluable, so we shall know and cherish these individuals.

Originally posted 2010-11-02 21:52:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Facing Solitude and Its Benefits

IMG_2012The noise of the day fades away.
The night is quiet and…
Space surrounds the alone being.
Solitude.

The night can be so lonely. Especially if you are alone.

In solitude, how do you feel?

Whatever it is. That reveals truth about you. How you feel when you are utterly alone speaks much about your true self.

As humans, having time to be physically alone is imperative. Imperative in that it lets each of us to feel the true self and thus helps us grow character, a genuine character. Because of the silence, the emptiness around, without noise and distraction, who you are becomes so naked — the amazing, yet scary part. Because it is scary, we always try to run away when alone or begin to feel lonely.

Solitude, aloneness then become amazing.

One of my favorite Taiwan artist Wang Leehom echos this thought and wrote:

I have come to believe that men mature in isolation. Isolation, being along with one’s thoughts can be a form of meditation and enlightenment. Perhaps one matures when he realizes that he is ultimately alone in this world, and that he must take responsibility for his own life, because no one else will.

Physically being alone speeds up this realization. Like Tom Hanks in “Castaway”. I believe in building from the ground up, whether it be corporate models, orchestra scores, or interpersonal relationships. For example, one needs to learn to love himself before being able to love others. One needs to be able to live in harmony with himself before being able to live together with another person. I guess if I look at it that way, I sure am leading the life these days, becoming a secure individual.

Thinking, meditating, feeling, composing,…searching for that rhythm in my soul that will make the whole world tap their feet. Yes, I miss my friends, and loved ones, but tonight, I wouldn’t trade this loneliness for anything.

So too I would never trade the peace that sprouts from emptiness, silence, solitude for anything.

The truth about meditation lies in that it lets you sees, and thus lay down, the identities you take on throughout the day, when you are with others. Thus the practice of meditation is to enable us to bring this observing quality into our daily life, which is why it is called a practice. Solitude is the first level, the physical level of meditation. Physical isolation is the entrance into meditation for modern people.

How is this relevant? Well, if you can face and accept and flow with the overwhelming quality of solitude, of utter loneliness, it cannot be any tougher than to face the daily stress in life — bills, budgets, work, relationships… Knowing that, how can you not be able to act with peace. Hence, we say it’s “ground work”, starting with the self.

Originally posted 2009-07-28 00:53:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Enjoying the Present and Saving for Later

There is the argument that we should lay it down and stop worrying so much about the future in order to live it up “now.”

However, when people say that, they often say it in the effect that enjoying the present and saving for later are mutually exclusive. Sometimes people are full of crap. Let me correct myself, sometimes is incorrect, it should be often time.

I believe you can do both. It is a matter of juggling and making choices. You may have to make sacrifice and compromise here and there in the now in order to make progress with both. It comes down to knowing yourself and deciding the important things in your life. People need to spend time to think about these — what do you know about yourself and the important things in your life?

And when you think, you need to think beyond the limit of their “norms”, and these norms include years of experience performing the same patterns of action, cultural background, religion, familial influence, peer pressure… And this is where real learning needs to take place. Being aware in everyday experience. Observing the world and the people around them. Seeing the cause and effect. Reading lots of books.

Back to the topic of enjoying the present and saving for later… I think people misconceive consciously or subconsciously that saving connotes pain and suffering. This is due to the consumeristic nature of our society. They got conditioned by advertising and then by power of the peers to have the if-you-don’t-spend-money-to-get-things-now-you-are-not-having-a-good-time mentality. Or the oh-woe-be-me-if-I-don’t-own-these-certain-things mentality. I did say “conditioned”, but people themselves have partial responsibility that they allow themselves be conditioned. They follow instructions because it is easier. Once again, people are not thinking critically for themselves.

And why does enjoying the present now usually mean you have to spend a butt load of money anyways? Yes, trips may cost quite a bit but you are not doing trips everyday I assume. There are many simple things to appreciate. There are a multitude of activities with minimal costs that provide enjoyable experience. People overlook those things. They lack awareness in life. Are you always looking for things to buy to feel excited? Do you often feel bored when you are not doing something? Do you have to have “this” (things or experience) to feel satisfied? I think those are all symptoms of the same — lack of awareness.

And we can also talk about people succumbing to the idea of standard of living. As age progresses, people have adopted so many what used to be luxurious and extravagant things into requirements as the “supposed” standard of living. What is this standard of living anyways? And what is normal? Perhaps they need to be more abnormal and start creating their own version of standard of living, instead of letting themselves fall into this bucket of people deemed normal. They are letting this normal defines them. And note, I am not saying you cannot having normal things and act the norm, just that you are to think for yourself and make the choice to do so. You align your decisions with your priorities in life. You define your normal.

I dare say that most people who have or had debt problems fall into one of the last 3 conditions. You may think the causes should be more complicated than those, and that would be fine. But I prefer to break things down to their bottom lines. I will leave the analysis of the complex human nature to the experts, or the “experts”, and I will continue to keep things simple. Though remember, simple does not mean easy.

Originally posted 2008-08-16 01:31:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Efficient Driving

As a part of my frugality, I feel that I have always drive my car quite fuel-efficiently. Even driving both locals and highways, I am able to get around 28 MPG each time out of my Scion tC, which is measured at 23/30 MPG. I’ve always tried not to have to brake and timed the street lights to avoid full stops. I thought that was pretty good!

But alas, check out this dude named Wayne Gerdes – the Hypermiler from Wisconsin, who takes it to the next level.

But it was driving his wife’s Acura mdx that moved Wayne up to the next rung of hypermiler driving. That’s because the suv came with a fuel consumption display (fcd), which shows mpg in real time. As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the mdx; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. “Most people get 18 in them,” he says.

But if you read, some of his techniques include going into sharp exits/turns at 50 mph! AND by turning off the engine and glide! I’m not sure if I want to do that… and I am definitely not one to drive like a dead man at 50 mph on a 65 mpg speed limit highway. Especially I’m in the Bay Area, I probably get flicked off and perhaps even tailgated and assaulted. Haha…

But there is a lesson, which is to drive fuel-efficiently as much as we can:

  • Avoid complete stops without having accidents :)
  • Go easy on the brakes. Note that your cars DO slow down if you take the foot off the gas pedal.
  • Get to know the traffic light pattern in your local area.
  • Start gliding if you see a red light ahead
  • Drive at a consistent speed.

Originally posted 2007-03-08 21:54:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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