Philosophy may seem axiomatic, but it’s not. We can live by it, but we can’t solve for it.
When is the enemy of now. It may seem like a riddle, but it’s perhaps one of the truest statements. A thought that deathbeds fear, and therefore should be given great respect – now! It’s called life; let’s make sure we’re living beyond breathing.
Dribbling a basketball serves as a wonderful life metaphor. It begins with potential energy converting into kinetic energy when we apply force. That force collides with a surface and Newton’s 3rd law enters: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
When practiced with patience and desire, this fundamental skill becomes part of our muscle memory. In other words: control is in our hands. We use our potential wisely so that it works for us. When standing still, dribbling is fairly effortless once our controlled initial force is applied. The ball returns, and we begin this rhythmic, graceful dance between wrist, floor and the space between.
However, this action gets complicated when we want to move, especially when we encounter obstacles. Therefore, we must learn to accept that spending the required time on the fundamentals is essential, so that when we choose to move, we can do so with the same control we have whilst standing still. We often get caught up being concerned about learning more, consuming as much new information and skill acquisition as possible as a means of taking leaps forward or to be flashy, instead of focusing on the basics. When we approach life in this manner, we rely more on luck than preparation. Practicing the fundamentals teaches us how to pivot with control and grace.
We can only be as self-aware as our most obvious weakness.
Equanimity is defined as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” It’s the last part of that definition that we tend to struggle with most in the moment. When we complain about something, that’s a sign that whatever is happening is stirring up something emotional in us. Let us not forget that this emotional response is signaling that something in us needs to change – likely our perspective. It’s foolish to expect that something or someone else is going to change simply because it/they bother us.
Work is defined as an “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result,” or “a task or tasks to be undertaken; something a person or thing has to do.” Strategies may help improve the efficiency of something. Choice, however, is the only thing that can improve someone. Responsibility can be a burden or an honor. Choice, again, is what will dictate our perspective. If we choose to aim to be better people, there is no way our work will suffer.
When we are feeling under the weather, we often do our best to sleep as much as possible. Rest is restorative and so our hope is to wake up feeling better than we did. We try to avoid feeling poorly by being unconscious. When we are unable to get rest when we are ailing, we tend to make waking resolutions about taking better care of ourselves in the future to avoid the awfulness of feeling unwell. Why? Because being healthy simply feels better than being sick. It’s logical and therefore we want this! We will also find that this logic applies to temptations.
In this way, a common cold is no different from a hangover, or over-indulging a sweet tooth, a shopping spree, binge-watching, binge-gaming, etc. We are just very good at rationalizing that the point that we “catch a cold.” Anyone who has ever played catch knows that if the incoming ball suddenly morphed mid-air into a burden, logic would avoid catching it and choose to swat it to the ground instead.