The above mentioned title is actually a quote by Albert Einstein. It was the turning point in a recent movie that I watched, “Ghost Town.” I walked away with this one big idea not only about my life, but concerning humanity as well, in that Albert was right, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” What Albert is trying to combat is choosing to live only for ourselves. When we only live for ourselves, we are like mice stuck in an exercise wheel. We keep moving, the wheel keeps spinning, but we get no where. Self-admittedly, I confess to you that I am very guilty of trying to stay up with the Jones’. Everyday I have to fight every single atomic molecule within me to not buy “stuff.” I desperately want an iphone and a high-def television, but I already have a cell phone that I love and a TV that works great. So why do I want to buy these things? Well, it’s like the bomb shelter of the 50’s…or the generators in 1999. We’re sometimes convinced through fear, survival, or necessity that we need more things to improve our way of living. Today it seems as though technology is being shoved down our throats, I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty…I want more (name that tune!). But the problem is consumerism, which is why the current recession is so great for Americans. We need to learn what some of our parents and grandparents went through during and post the Great Depression. Sure it’s really depressing right now (that’s why it was called the Depression), but every great leader that I’ve talked to or worked with has always said that they learn more from failure than any success. It was time that consumers, creditors, lenders, bankers, and businesses all got a slap in the face. Things might get worse, but if they do they’ll only get better. We all needed a wake-up, and this one really hurts. For me, the American Dream will never die, it is times like these that will make us better, more efficient and greater, not make us second rate to China, U.K., France or Russia. Before anyone in particular posts a comment about this statement let me also just say that as an American, there is nothing wrong with any other country. It just so happens like all other Americans, I’m just also narcissistic and prideful in addition to being a consumerist. So how do we really combat consumerism, narcissism, and pride? I have a good idea… We need to be charitable, self-less, and grateful. In reading this I challenge you to do a little cleaning in your closets to find clothes and shoes that you haven’t worn in at least a year. Do not talk yourself into keeping them with the simple notion that you might wear them. Saying that you might wear something is like saying maybe to an event that you’ve been invited to on Facebook. You know that you have no intention of attending; you just don’t want to admit the truth! Select one pair of shoes, I know I have a pair that I just don’t wear that I will be giving to http://www.soles4souls.org/ and take a load of clothes to Goodwill in these trying times we need to be human and charitable to one-another. Be thankful and rejoice in all things. Life is a blessing, don’t waste it on frivolous things, but enjoy it for all that is. When we play in creation, ponder life’s great mysteries, deliberate on what the artist meant by that color, we enjoy life. Life is never about “climbing the corporate ladder” or changing social classes. It is about the little idiosyncrasies, the ups and downs, the other people that are on the same journey, and the course adjustments along the way. But in all things be grateful and look for things to be grateful for, it will change your life to have Thanksgiving be everyday and not just one day a year!
Be self-less. For the health of my soul, I’m going to make every effort to do one random act of kindness every week. Maybe it’s just holding the door open, or helping someone carry something, but I’ve just noticed that when I give of myself, internally, I don’t feel as needy or self-focused. When I don’t have time to focus on the world that surrounds me, I am able to love others and to love life. Remember, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”