Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Seeking Perfection

Nobody is perfect, that is for certain. But I’ve always thought that it is admirable to take your best shot at attaining perfection anyway. Now when I say perfect, I refer to the frequency in which we demonstrate life’s virtues. Demonstrating all of them 100% of the time would be “perfect”.  Admitting that it is an impossible conquest, if you do embark on the challenge you are most definitely bound to make significant improvements in your character that are well worth the effort.

Many people would argue that we should be happy with who we are, just as we are now, and love ourselves unconditionally with all of the imperfections we naturally possess. And I agree with this to a certain extent. We should love ourselves in each and every moment and always nurture internal happiness. But we all know that there are certain character traits in each of us that we can improve (because we're not perfect) and I believe that passively accepting them as they are, leaving them underdeveloped and lacking full potential, is ignoring our responsibility as humans to strive for moral excellence.

So many people coast through their day-to-day lives without every stopping to take a step back and look in the mirror, repeating the routine of mediocrity that finds their personality in the same exact place as the day before. But I believe that all it takes is a raised awareness and a little self-analysis to jumpstart this unproductive cycle and turn it into an upward spiral of personal growth.

We first need to know what virtues are: courage, kindness, loyalty, honesty, self-confidence, humilty. . . the list goes on and on and each shares the common value of being a building block in the foundation of good moral being. Then we need to recognize these traits in ourselves and measure the frequency in which they are demonstrated. Are you loyal 100% of the time? Are you honest 100% of the time? Certainly not, as you will never be “perfect” in any area. But I guarantee that if you make perfection your goal and put conscious effort into attaining it, you will develop these virtues to a great degree that is much higher than where they were before.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Open Your Mind

We can’t help what culture or society we are born into, or what family we are raised by. We enter the world at a very specific time and place and automatically accept the philosophies and traditions that surround us, for that is all we know. We grow up seeing the world through our own paradigm, like a pair of glasses in front of our eyes that interprets the world as it is, causing us to believe and support certain things and ideas.

Someone that grew up in the South in the 1800’s is going to have a very different worldview that someone who is growing up in Los Angeles today. And that person who is growing up in Los Angeles today is going to have a very different worldview than someone who is growing up in Zimbabwe today (the poorest country in the world). Every person in every corner of the world from every day and age carries with them an inherited set of beliefs and values, and many carry them their whole lives.

For those of us that are fortunate enough to live in an advanced society and be educated enough to read these words, it’s important that we are aware of the glasses through which we see the world and question the validity of our innate viewpoints. Once we reach a certain age and point of personal growth it’s our responsibility to start thinking for ourselves and replace some of the undeserving perspectives and attitudes that we were born into with more positive and powerful ones.

So let go of the limiting beliefs and negative opinions you’ve had of things and open yourself up to new possibilities. Start to understand the world from other people’s perspectives and step out of your own shell. Don’t succumb to stereotypes and “popular opinion”. Go experience things for yourself and be your own judge. Broaden your horizons. Open your mind.