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Leadership Thought #233 – Life Does Require Perspective, Personal Sacrifice, and Hard Work

I come across a lot of books, magazines, TV shows these days that are selling simplicity and the quick fix to life.  The main contention is that all of our lives are too busy and complicated and if we would just scale back and reprioritize what’s most important to us then everything would be better.  The focus is squarely on the individual and what he /she feels they want or need.  All we have to do put ourselves first and everything will go our way.  Moreover, we shouldn’t settle for anything less than regular happiness and self-fulfillment which in my opinion is an unrealistic and often damaging perspective.  

However, life isn’t always that simple.  Not everything is meant to be easy to navigate.   You can fit all your life solutions into a neat little box.  Sometimes there aren’t that many shortcuts or smooth routes you can take.  You must factor in numerous variables outside of your control which often conflict with your short term comfort expectations.  We also share this world with other people and their needs will inevitably clash with our own.  Anything worthwhile requires some level of effort and sacrifice:  

Positive relationships require on-going investment, commitment and understanding;

Successful careers will always require hard work, perseverance and some level of personal tradeoffs;

A grounded sense of personal economics should always factor into your financial decision making

Living a healthy lifestyle requires both knowledge and personal discipline; 

Certain work and/or life responsibilities while not always chosen must be met. 

The fact is that all decisions and behaviors have consequences (both good and bad) and we must learn and grown from them.  The ride can and will get bumpy at times but that’s part of the journey.  Growth often requires some level of pain and discomfort.  There are no quick fixes.  Have you ever noticed that we never fully appreciate what comes to us too easily in life?

Babies and young children want what they want and they want it now.  They aren’t all that interested in how their actions affect others.  They believe the world should exist to make them happy and meet their needs.  When things don’t turn out their way they usually have a disproportionate emotional response and make things difficult for those around them.  I’m worried that many adults are stating to revert to the same behavior. 

Despite our relative wealth, comfort and convenience compared to any other time and history we still want more and get rattled by any level of adversity.  In a larger sense, as a society, it’s time for us to collectively grow up and take responsibility for our actions and impact on others.  The world doesn’t exist to make us happy.  We exist to make the world a better place and this will always require some level of perspective, personal sacrifice and hard work.


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