Monday Morning Coffee | May 27, 2010
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."
- Henry David Thoreau
"To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition."
- Samuel Johnson
"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out."
- Robert Frost
BUILD A WALL OF HAPPINESS!To affect the quality of anything first requires action of some sort. Affecting is the opposite of passivity. In a passive state we can only BE affected, but we ourselves have no effect on our surroundings or other people. Hold that thought for a moment and consider next the result of your "affecting."
Ambition leads to action. Your ambition leads you to affect the quality of the day through some action. So what is the ultimate result of your ambition transformed into action? Johnson suggests it is "to be happy at home."
If, as Johnson recites, being "happy at home" is the ultimate result of your ambition, then why are you working so hard? Is there a way to avoid working evenings and weekends? Could you schedule your child's soccer game into the week's plans? Is that next appointment more important than celebrating life with your spouse at anniversary time?
One way to affect the quality of your day, which in turn may result in happiness at home, is to "build a wall," to paraphrase Frost. Keep in mind that walls may limit you if they are constructed of heavy gauge steel mesh rimmed with concertina wire. Walls can also be formed as a low hedge or a split-rail fence - even more simply as a line in the sand. Rather than limiting us, they become a mere reminder of how far we are willing to go.
As we affect the quality of our life and push our ambition to the limit, we may also make choices about the boundaries of our lives. By choosing sound principles of living, for example, we may say, "No!" to friendships with those who operate outside our boundaries of accepted activities. We may decline meaningless activities, or the occasional committee appointment, which robs us of our valuable time.
In the end, WE are solely responsible for affecting the quality of our individual lives. We must choose wisely.