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Jason Holliston
Thursday, June 17, 2004  
Today's Philosophical Statement

All right, so perhaps it's not a daily thing. In fact, I'd be shocked if I did this more than once in a blue moon. Yes, I do have a personal philosophy, but it's all a jumble. I figure I'll have it all figured out by the time I'm about 96 years old.

I have a close friend that's been feeling uneasy with things of late. I don't think they fully know what it is, but the feeling they describe is one I'm familiar with -- general uneasiness and restlessness. Their feelings made me start thinking about my philosophy, and why it works for me. I'm very rarely depressed or upset about "nothing I can put my finger on".

What's important in life? Family, friends, God, and yourself. The first three are pretty self-explanatory -- it's the fourth one that takes some deconstruction. What does it mean to be good to yourself? To be happy with yourself? To be content with your direction, and your place in the world? What a can of worms. See, for most people, simply dedicating yourself to your family, friends, and God isn’t enough. They are important, necessary parts of a whole, but we human beings are creatures that have a wide selfish streak. That selfishness isn't a bad thing by itself, no matter what you may read or hear, but a necessary component of improvement of the human race.

I personally try to live by these rules, and they've worked pretty damn well for years.

1. Improve yourself and your life every day you walk this Earth. That may be improving your financial position, improving your bonds with your friends or family, improving the state of your health, or improving the state of your mind, by reading, watching, or listening to anything that expands it. Why? Because when you go to sleep at night, you can point to something and say, "This day mattered."

2. Do something regularly that you believe will help the world around you, whether it is donating time at your local church, participating in a fund raiser to help fight AIDS, or writing in a blog, trying to make a few people think about the world around them. Sometimes it's as easy as helping a friend in need, and sometimes that's as difficult as volunteering for the U.S. Armed Forces. "What" depends on the person, but that space needs to be filled. Why? First, it's the right thing to do, darn it, and second, because humans are a community-based people -- not loners. This balances out number one, which centers upon selfishness.

3. Set goals for yourself, and make sure you keep most of them. Measurable successes, and not just some feeling that you're heading in the right direction, is a key to feeling good about life. I think it goes without saying that one cannot drift (or get into a deep rut) and stay happy and upbeat. And for good reason. Without personal metrics, you can feel like you're drifting, even if you're not.

Again, a disclaimer: I won't figure out my entire personal philosophy for a long time, and I don't pretend that this is anything close to complete. It may, in fact, appear to be entire composed of manure to most people. I'm saying, though, that for years, this has worked for me very, very well. Tonight when you go to bed, think to yourself, and say, "What did I do today to improve myself? What will I do tomorrow?"

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