Life @ Work
Seven Causes of Failure
There are seven critical features necessary for even moderate success. Should any of these features be at low ebb, then you will find yourself living a life of desperation and bitter failure.
One: Low physical energy. In our modern day world of constant struggle to sustain ourselves economically, it is easy to let stress become predominant, and this in turn, will lead to compromising the immune system and creating illness, sometimes a fatal illness. Low physical energy comes from insufficient sleep, little or no quiet time of restfulness when awake, little or no physical exercise, and poor eating and digestion. When physical energy is low, sluggishness is prevalent and little is achieved. Unless this is healed, a person is heading toward ill health and low moods. Dysfunctional and addictive behaviour, bitter losses, and personal crises arise from not having enough physical energy to fix things in our lives when they break down. We succumb before the smallest of obstacles.
Two: Mental sluggishness. The world is fast moving towards becoming entirely based on knowledge as a key economic skill. The industrial revolution, where strenuous labor was sufficient to pay the bills, is being replaced by knowledge workers. Machines and sophisticated technology are quickly replacing manual labor. In a decade or two, robotic intelligence will far outstrip the most competent human technician. Yet, all educational systems are still using the archaic factory methods of mass production and if you wish to have an intelligent mind, you will have to develop self-reliance. Ignorance, stupidity, and emotional jingoism and dogmatism have wrecked havoc on human life…and unless our species learns to value artistic and intellectual achievement, we will self-exterminate through overpopulation, pollution, epidemics, the collapse of nations, or a final war.
Three: Low ideals. All greatness and all examples of cultural heroes arise from those who have held themselves up to a higher ideal then what the consensus reality deemed necessary. I am not talking here about morals, whose values arise from dogmatic creeds, but about an individual’s desire to better themselves and the world around them. Egoic desires for wealth, popularity, and total domination are not high ideals. Many world dictators have held all three, and they have brought nothing but misery to their countries and the world at large. Champions of worthy ideals have been people like Joseph Campbell, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and others. Dipping into the biographies of great souls is the beginning of your own greatness. A high ideal is one that is good for you, that is good for others, and that is good for all mankind.
Four: Dogmatic religiosity. Fanaticism is not spiritual. Understanding the great invisible forces of life can only come from original experience. Books and teachers may point the way, but ultimately, they do not light the path to deep understanding, and only make a false impression of learning. True spirituality consists of acts of kindness, moments of wisdom, and feelings of high inspiration. When we learn and absorb the lessons of our own life, enjoy genuine warmth in relationship to other people and experience wonder when contemplating the great scheme of all life, then we may awaken to spiritual understanding. Institutions, no matter how venerable, cannot make you spiritual. Gurus, no matter how advance, cannot make you spiritual. Only your own unrelenting efforts at seeking the origins and meaning of the good, the true, and the beautiful will put your feet on the path to spiritual understanding. Spirituality, ultimately, cannot be taught; it can only be learned.
Five: Superficial relationships. The entire fabric of life is based on relationships between various forms of life. The more superficial your relationship with other people, the more manipulative your interactions, and the more self-seeking your motivations, the more you hurt yourself. We know neither ourselves nor each other, and the results of this neglect of interest and affection is that we live lonely lives in a world where chaotic human behavior appears to be slowly but inevitably eroding the quality of all human experience.
Six: The unhealed past. All of us have been wounded by our interactions with the world, and as these scars accumulate inside our emotional bodies, the more disturbed we become. Over time, they only get worse. Unless effort is made to heal the experiences of hurt, disappointment, rejection, and humiliation from the past, then their psychic force will continue to have a debilitating effect in our lives. So numbed out are we to our own pain that often it takes skilled professional intervention to uncover it.
Seven: No self-inquiry. Life is complex. Yet we respond with simple reflexes to what ails us. Rare is the person who takes time to journal, to walk in nature, or to discuss with others at a deep level what can be done to improve the quality of life. When we don’t contemplate the conundrums that face us, we continue to tread ruts of self-defeat. Reflexive living means a dearth of proactive solutions, and the more wrong answers we accumulate on what to do about things, the worse they get. Quickly enough a lifetime will pass and regret will be the last emotion experienced. The unlived life arises from the non-reflected life. It is better to reflect on what is happening in our lives when we have a chance to correct our course than to do so when it is too late.
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