This is Finley’s Manifesto of life lessons: a written statement declaring my intentions, motives, and views. It represents exactly how I feel about the world, people, the Earth, and life. I’ve learned many lessons, both good and bad. Like others, I’ve made many mistakes, some I was able to recover from and some not. I’ve been hurt deeply and struggled to overcome that pain. Through all that, I’m still here and leading a productive and healthy life.
What it was, What it is, and What it shall be
One thing I’ve learned in life is that your life consists of 3 time periods: The past, the now, and the future. Part of leading a healthy and happy life is determined by how you handle those three aspects. Too much emphasis on any one of them tips the balance towards the unhealthy.
Some people dwell on the past and hope to reclaim it. Regretting decisions and mistakes, asking what-if things had been different, wishing to go back to that great moment. I don’t believe that is healthy. It is the past for a reason. The past (both good and bad) got you where you are today. Today really is the first day of the rest of your life and what you do now determines your future. I only see two values in remembering the past. First, to build lasting positive relationships with people who care about you. The key word is positive. If not positive, it has no value. The second reason is to learn from your mistakes so you can either reverse them or just not repeat them. Besides those two instances, I leave the past where it belongs.
Looking Forward, Some
If anything, I look to the future too much. Its not healthy either if you can’t enjoy the now. I believe in planning for the future, but it is important to live in the now. Its nice to have something to look forward to, but not at the expense of now.
That reminds me of a favorite quote I found on a t-shirt once. I wore the t-shirt out, but the quote stuck:
Tomorrow’s a mystery
Today is the day
Another way to say it is simply “Carpe Diem”, Latin for “Seize the Day”. One of my favorite personalities is Eckhart Tolle. He is a spiritual leader who wrote the books “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth“. He believes in living in the now and being present in the moment. The more you are present, the more you are your real self. I strive to achieve the level of presence described in these books. “A New Earth” talks about a shift in consciousness where people become their true self without the burden of ego. I also strive for this enlightened state with a hope that I and many others reach that in our lifetime.
Another book (and movie) I believe in is called “The Secret“. It talks about the Law of Attraction. The basic concept is that you get what you give. If you have negative energy, you will attract negative energy. Positive will attract positive. It seems to me to agree with the concept of karma, a key concept in some eastern religions, where a person’s actions for good or bad determine their future place in the world. Likewise, in Christianity, it agrees with the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I try to pass on positive vibes as I respectfully deal with others. That can be challenging when one is intolerant by nature. I’m often disappointed when others are not as considerate as I try to be. But I’ve learned that you can’t spread good will if you always expect positive feedback from it. The whole point is to “give” without expecting to “get”. And not to judge. Other actions that help are “passing on a smile”, “paying it forward”, and “random acts of kindness”.
The only message in “The Secret” I don’t agree with is that if you visualize personal financial wealth, it will come to you. I believe you get wealthy by good decisions, hard work, and luck. Not by dreaming of it.
I believe much of how you handle life is determined by attitude. I try and stay humble, grateful for life and what it gives me, respectful of myself and others, determined to be a better person, and positive about the future. As an adult, I never assumed life is fair or that I was automatically owed anything or deserved special treatment. I knew I had to earn what I needed and that I would have to work hard to get it. That is what I call an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Thankful for what I have and acknowledging that it took some luck to have my life. With an estimated 9.6% world poverty level and 10.9% of the world hungry, even where we are born gives us tremendous good or bad luck from the start. The trick is to figure out how to improve the life you were given using your skills and your attitude.
Several times in his life, Thomas Jefferson wrote down lists called “Canons of Conduct”. They are pearls of wisdom passed down through generations. Here is a link to his lists on the Monticello site. From time to time, I look at these and I believe most still apply to the present day.
I’ve developed my own short list of principles/axioms I’ve tried to follow:
- Be kind. Follow the Golden Rule because kindness matters.
- Be strong. Your ancestors were or you wouldn’t be here.
- Try hard. Always do your best.
- Never quit. There is no can’t.
- Follow your own path. Dare to be different.
- Show respect for yourself and others. Even if they haven’t earned it.
- You are not what you do or think. You are what you feel.
- Negative relationships are not worth having. Say adios.
- Plan ahead. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Savor today. It is all you currently have.
- Give without expectation of return. Better to give than receive.
- Live and let live. Peaceful coexistence.
In the End
I’ll end this positively positive and possibly preposterous post with my overall motto.
At the End of the Day, Only Kindness Matters
I try and live by this and hope that others will to.
Note: This post is commentary, also called opinion. It represents the views only of the author and only the author. I welcome constructive criticism and comments, but remember that all comments will be reviewed. Anything negative towards anyone or anything will be tossed. Cheers!