Do not let your circumstances be the defining factor of your life. Instead, let your life be defined by how you overcame your circumstances and by building a life of meaning and value. Let death and the fragility of life be not far from your mind as you live each day. Keep your priorities in line and pursue them daily. Do not allow your attention to turn towards media, vanity or other things that distract you. Orient yourself properly and stay true towards your purpose and goals.
Certainly, your circumstances were not all of your own choosing. This is true for each of us. We all must find ways to handle the obstacles life places in our way. The best way to succeed is to become the person who is competent in overcoming obstacles. In his old proverb, Benjamin Franklin speaks of becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. Moreover, he credits going to bed and waking up early for the development of these traits, However, I don’t believe this is the message of the proverb. I believe the message is in becoming the person who does what he/she knows is good for him/her and not doing the things which he/she knows are detrimental.
It is important to recognize the fragility of life. How precious this short time on Earth is. Keeping your mortality in mind is a practical way of directing your focus towards those things which matter most. Building good habits and intelligently cultivating good thoughts in the garden of your mind, as James Allen calls it, is critical. Your thoughts are not you. Your thoughts are a by-product of consciousness and must be paid attention to lest they take control of you. A daily mindfulness routine is a profound way to learn about your own mind and thoughts.
As we all try to find ways to cope with this pandemic, we can see how the recognition of our fragility and mortality can influence our behaviors. Don’t let your mind run wild with unintelligent, irrational or fearful thoughts. (And don’t buy up the whole supply of toilet paper.) Cultivate instead, the habit of paying attention. Not only to the world around you but to the world within you.
Becoming healthy, wealthy and wise requires constant effort. That is to say, you must recognize it is not a struggle against anything other than your own mind. Most importantly, no one will motivate you more or put you down worse than yourself. Most of us generally treat each other with kindness and respect, but if you pay attention to the way you treat yourself, you can see how cruel your own mind can be. I cannot stress enough how important it is to develop an awareness of mind and thoughts. 10 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation is the most practical way of developing this awareness.
Becoming Your Ideal Self:
Each of us must decide for ourselves how we direct the drama of our lives. “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” That is: if we allow ourselves to be consumed in negative, self-defeating habits and routines we are turning the world into our own personal hell. We must instead decide that starting right now today, we are going to begin the slow and meticulous process of becoming who we could be. This is the only way to begin combating the uncertainties of the world. This is how we must all decide to be. The parable of the speck and the log tells us we must work on ourselves before we can have any hope of working with others. Helping others strengthens our collective ability to overcome the tragedies of the world and build something beautiful for the generations to come.