The Challenge of Life
Born self-centered and self-absorbed, we all react either consciously or unconsciously, to the need for survival and the desire for personal gratification. From our first breathe of life, impulses surface as environmental situations are presented to us that challenge our very existence. Resilience to such challenges is the key. This primal level of survival concerns itself with self preservation and stimulation. Left completely unchecked, most of us will become self-serving, gluttonous, and lazy.
As other people are introduced into our world, competition surfaces, compounding the initial drives. This is due to a perceived struggle for limited resources. This competition results in greed, anger, envy, and vanity. The fight for food, shelter, security, and attention leads to powerful motivating forces within us to succeed, to control, and to dominate.
Self esteem, pride and vanity are the byproducts of comparison, competition, and success.
Self esteem, pride and vanity are the byproducts of comparison, competition, and success. Excessive pride and vanity leads to dominance and cruelty toward the competitor. Self control is about regulating these impulses and emotions. Self-discipline is a predetermined choice to delay gratification for the reward of a happier, more secure, successful tomorrow. Delayed gratification requires pre-planning and courage to resist the impulses, urges, lusts, and desires of the moment. The longer these urges have dominated our thoughts, the more ingrained they have become. Their pattern of behavior is strong, and the challenge in regulating them is great. Courage is holding to a plan with conviction when everything in the moment is in opposition to it. The pushing and pulling to the course of least resistance generates fear. Fear is self-imposed, and works directly against courage and the pre-determined plan.
History shows that a healthy, orderly society is safer and more secure than the predator/prey world of “survival of the fittest.” History also shows that rules protect us as they are the foundation of learning to delay personal gratification. Delayed gratification allows us all to succeed in the orderly, rule-bound social world in which we live. History also shows that education and hard work lead to a happy life. The more advanced the society, the greater the potential for achievement.
The challenge of life is to achieve personal peace. This includes contentment, confidence, and satisfaction. Peace is felt in the complete lack of fear and strife. It is a clear conscience free of deceit and dishonesty. Reconciliation with everything and everyone is necessary. Sadly, most of us are confused as to how to attain peace. The choice between peace and fear comes when personal honesty is challenged and integrity is maintained. Overcoming this challenge leads to a meaningful life. Blindly following impulses has never turned out well for anyone. Peace with others and peace with the environment both stem from peace with self.
Originally posted on September 15, 2011 on www.childofvirtue.blogspot.com