Showing posts with label choices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label choices. Show all posts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Doctor Who and the Incredible Hulk

By Douglas Clark

I often find myself wondering what would life be like if I made other decisions and choices. It’s not so much that I regret my current state or that I’m unhappy, quite the contrary. For me, imagining the ‘what if’ scenarios that life can/could/does bring keeps me from getting mired in apathy and monotony. When I was young, I wanted to be a writer (duh), a millionaire, a super genius, and world traveler; I also wanted to be Indiana Jones, the Incredible Hulk, Captain Kirk, and a companion of Doctor Who (notice the Sci-Fi slant here?).

So what would have happened if I made different life decisions, and one of those dreams came true? (Obviously, some of those dreams will sadly never come true, so there goes my ride in the TARDIS… L, but I digress). Well I went to college and earned really good grades, so that’s probably the closest to ‘super genius’ I’ll get. I joined the Navy and did see the world, so I’m good there. I’m obviously a writer (still waiting on Random House, Harper Collins, or Simon and Shuster to give me a book deal), and try to keep writing every day. So that just leaves millionaire (guess that will have to wait until one of my books becomes a movie… see I have it all planned out).

It’s the ability to daydream and imagine the ‘what ifs’ that keep my mind fresh and vibrant. Now obviously I keep my focus and do my work, get the job done, etc., but the way I see it is this: If you imagine yourself doing something you really want to do, it’s the first step in making it actually happen. Do you see what I mean? That old saying “The power of positive thinking”, although somewhat cliché, is still true. Imagining yourself in a new job or taking on a challenging task opens the door to the skills and mindset of accomplishing those goals. (However, my boyhood dreams of building a TARDIS might not qualify. If I master Relative Dimensions and that wibbly wobbly timey wimey… stuff, I’ll get back to you)

Imagining each ‘what if’ possibility opens a new door to an entirely different life, vastly different experiences and varied knowledge and skill. Granted many of those ‘lives’ would be similar to the one I’m leading, but the more I let my imagination go free, the greater the variation. Those variations let me be me, only in a different setting. 

When you begin to see yourself living a different life, you can start moving toward that life. Now I’d love to explore the Universe like the Doctor, or command a star ship like Captain Kirk but I know that really isn’t going to happen. Refreshing my imagination with those far flung possibilities stirs up the mental pot and re-energizes me. I use that energy to focus myself and do what I do best, write. 

Where have your choices brought you?    

Thanks for reading. 

Questions and comments are welcome

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What Legacy to Leave

No legacy is so rich as honesty. (All’s Well that Ends Well -- Act iii, Sc. 5) William Shakespeare

Have you ever thought about life after your own? I’m not talking about anything supernatural, heaven, or the afterlife. I’m talking about the impression you leave behind after you are gone. It’s an unavoidable truth that one day each of us will draw our last breath and part from this world. In a way it makes all that we do and all that we say that much more poignant and precious, because we only get one chance. Think for a moment of what life would be like without you. All of society will roll on just as it has before you, only now, if you’ve done it right, you’ll have left a mark that is immutable and distinctly you. I think leaving a legacy of good behind is vital.

For argument’s sake let’s say we all have 100 years of earthly life given to us. What will you do with that time? Each life is different and unique and the choices we make mold and shape that life and us into the individuals we all are. Some of those choices are good, some bad. What we do with those lives is entirely up to us. There are those who are self-centered and egotistical, searching only for things that make themselves happy. There are those who strive for altruism and look out for others, doing whatever they can to better the lives of those around them. Many of us fall somewhere in between, which is to say we try to live good lives and occasionally put ourselves first in the pecking order of life. Now that’s not a bad thing because if you can’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else; it’s the balance between selfishness and givingness that’s the key. We can’t all get everything we’ve ever wanted, that’s just unrealistic and if you devote your life to acquisition, whether it be for fame, fortune or power, you may very well achieve those goals, but when it’s all over, what do you leave behind?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say what you leave behind should be a positive thing. Although, it might be hard to say exactly what counts as valuable in a subjective sense; one person might say a fortune left to heirs is positive, another might say the example of a good life is better. Even others might say the propagation of their religion or ideology is paramount. So what is positive, and what counts as a lasting legacy of good?

My belief is that if you continue to learn and improve on the person you were yesterday, avoid making the same mistakes, keep an open mind, learn from other people the best you can, and never give up to apathy and despair, your life will continue to improve. Striving to an ideal is great so long as you only compare yourself to what you have achieved, not what you think you should be. We all know no one is perfect, but continual self-improvement is an example everyone that knows you can take with them and emulate, as well as pass on to others. 

Over the course of a lifetime, you can make a difference. If you continually fail, try another approach, seek advice, model yourself after those who have succeeded and keep going. If you only have 100 years to make a life worth knowing about, each moment is precious, but they are also opportunities to reassert yourself and move forward. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Think of it this way, if your life was a book, would anyone want to read about it? I for one want to leave behind a best seller. What about you?

Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Suffer Injustice

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
     It would be a wonderful thing if everyone had a positive moral center. The world would be a better place if a universal moral truth existed that we could all center around, believe in, and adhere to. Sadly, an altruistic moral goodness does not seem to be something we all can share. There is a major difference between having a difference of opinion, and having radically opposing ideologies. Wars have been fought, men have killed and died, people have suffered, and lives shattered in following those ideals. But what does that mean for the common man, the individual? Having conviction for your beliefs is one thing, oppressively forcing those beliefs on others is quite another. What qualifies as sharing the tenants of a belief structure or forcing it down someone’s throat? These are deep philosophical questions that may have no definitive yes/no, right/wrong answer. So what do we do with the inevitable injustice that comes along with all of this ideological ambiguity?  Vigilance.

     Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. This vigilance, this eternal watchfulness for danger, abuse, and dishonesty keeps you ever aware of the actions around you. Paying attention to what is going on, what is happening around you, who is doing it, and for what reasons are fundamental in forming a foundation of morality. You will be influenced by others, you will be influenced by experiences, your education, environment, health, religion, if you have one, responsibilities, even your wealth or lack thereof. Recognizing that your perspective is not the only one is the first step into understanding what drives others to do the things (sometimes despicable) that they do. This is not to say it exonerates them or justifies their actions, but you will know more about the drive behind those actions. This understanding is important because for the most part, you cannot and will not change anyone, except yourself.

     It is almost inevitable that you will be the target of injustice. The key is to not be the victim. Accepting the ideal that you were powerless to stop another’s actions may seem reasonable, but don’t fall into the trap that just because you could not stop someone from doing something, that it means you cannot recover from it. There is always recourse. Some people delight in causing pain, anguish, misery, whatever you might call it, mostly because they are miserable themselves. In a way they are the victim; the victim of their own limited perspective hiding in a mental world of fear, or rage desperate to lash out at anyone they perceive as a threat. They will attack, they will lie, cheat, steal, cajole, and offend, sometimes overtly, sometimes blatantly; both methods are insidious. Vigilance against these forces of negativity is your first line of defense. There is however, more to life than just battling against the never ending tide of grief. 

     Keeping an open mind about your circumstances allows your perspective to mature. Accepting that you can learn from others both good and bad allows you to see the world from many angles. This multi-faceted perspective cuts through the ambiguity and helps focus on foundational elements essential to a moral center. It may be true that the whole of society will never agree on a bullet-pointed list of things that define true morality; we may never have consensus. Blindly accepting established social dogma and railing against accepted norms for the sake of social disorder are neither effective nor prudent, but centering your individual mindset is the only way to reach out. You don’t have to remain planted with your proverbial feet in the ground, but drifting along with the wind is no help either. One of the hardest things in life is holding on to a conviction that you believe to be right even when others denounce you. The other is apathetic refusal to believe in anything. It comes down to a simple fact: life is full of choices; make good ones.

 Questions and comments are welcome.  Thanks for reading. 

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...