A few nights ago, I was speaking to a poor woman. She was from a ghetto section of Latin America: aka, the “barrio.” Eventually, she told me something about her family:
Her father had 22 children.
Jokingly, I said “He must be rich.”
She rolled her eyes. “We never had anything growing up. And I still have nothing. He was never around anyway”
Academics love to speak on poverty. They say that it’s about racism. Or the say that it’s about corruption. Some even believe it’s a mindset: i.e. if we think positive, then we can become rich.
Wrong! The truth is obvious, but it’s too offensive to say: it’s too impolite to mention. Let’s do away with the pretty lies…
Parental investment is the bedrock of financial success.
In the United States, we snicker at the idea of “a house with two kids.” We make it sound predictable and staid. Why be normal? Why follow the crowd? It’s better to be Carrie Bradshaw, bouncing between one-night stands (just ignore the venereal disease and the Cymbalta). Eventually, the game is old. You realize (or at least you should) that you’re living a lie. Hollywood has preyed on you, and you’ve rejected a prize.
And what’s the prize? Well, just look below…
Two parents, working together, provide a solution to poverty. They dedicate their time and resources to raising healthy children. And these children are more likely to become productive members of society. It’s basic. A simple reality, noted by every major religion.
Parental investment is the bedrock of financial success.
Today’s wisdom is from Marcus Aurelius and Meditations. I’ve been delving into this book lately, and it’s been delivering in spades: the advice a sage, transported to the postmodern world. The following quote is relevant to all of us:
The art of true living is more like a wrestler’s, than a dancer’s practice.
So very true.
You’re fighting a war. The sooner you realize this, the better. And you’re surrounded by people that want to destroy you…to see your happiness lying in waste. They despise your happy wife, your sexual pleasure, and your healthy children.
Who are these people? A miserable lot, one and all. They stare at you from the television screen, watching your every move. They wait for you in the pages of a newspaper, or the darkness of a movie theater. They hang a seditious bait in front of your face, hoping that you’ll grab it. They can only be satisfied when your life is living hell…much like theirs.
So you must rise, my soldier. Kick out of the chokehold! Break free of the leg lock! You’re a wrestler…a grappler in the game of life. You strive for a championship belt? Then make it a reality today! Know every moment is a battle…every second a firefight.
What is sophistry? In short, it’s a theory that’s plausible but fallacious. In ancient times, there was actually a school of thinkers called the Sophists. Great thinkers have warned us about sophistry, urging us to avoid the trap.
What’s a modern example of a Sophist? Well, we have so many. For starters, the conspiracy fanatic is a sophist – he’s married to ideas that are partially true, but wholly incorrect.
So proceed with caution, my friends. Life is short and your time is valuable. Therefore, you should implement a strategy:
Do not continually engage with a sophist.
He’s not interested in exchanging ideas. He doesn’t care about intellectual inquiry, historical observation, or philosophical analysis. He’s using the conversation as a front, covering up his true aim.
In short, the sophist is looking to weaken you as a man. By undercutting your knowledge, he can bring you down to his broken level. He’s a half-man, incapable of scaling the ladders of greatness. So he tries to push over your ladder.
Stay on guard, my fellow Majors. Your time is valuable…your bank of knowledge must be protected with armed guards. The sophist would like to rob your mental bank account and leave you on the side of the road: a destitute man without a dollar of wisdom.
You’ve studied the work of ancient minds. You’ve read about the achievements of GREAT MEN. Now hold fast….don’t let the charlatans of sophistry deter you.
Marcus Aurelius was a sage. He gave advice on many practical matters, including composition. Here’s one of my favorites:
That I did not use to walk about the house in my long robe, nor to do any such things. Moreover I learned of him to write letters without any affectation, or curiosity; such as that was, which by him was written to my mother from Sinuessa: and to be easy and ready to be reconciled, and well pleased again with them that had offended me, as soon as any of them would be content to seek unto me again. To read with diligence; not to rest satisfied with a light and superficial knowledge, nor quickly to assent to things commonly spoken of. (from Meditations).
Finding a writing style is difficult. We’re surrounded by some many voices in this regard. And it’s easy to lose our path…to mimic the phrasing or wording of others. So what’s the solution?
Be direct and to the point: i.e. write without affectation. By doing so, you’ll capture the normal pattern of speech. You’ll directly address the reader (as opposed to having your literary representative speak to them).
And when it comes to reading…do it with diligence! Another nice reminder. It’s so easy to skim, to skip, etc. As the modern acronym goes, TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read). But what do we gain, really? It’s better to read five pages with passion than fifty with ambivalence.
Meditations is a book for all times. It’s a Bible of practical philosophy. And it becomes more relevant with each passing day…
I ask this every night as I put my head to the pillow. You see, the Major was almost dead once. Medical complications during a heart surgery. And for a minute my life was hanging in the balance. Even with the modern surgery of today, I was still lucky to survive.
But God was on my side. He pulled me through to live another day. I was knocking on heaven’s door, but there was nobody home…yet.
So why was I brought back? For what purpose?
I ask myself that everyday and a fire burns inside of me. A fire to make something of a second chance. A desire to repay God for the grace he bestowed upon me. The desire to do more, to be more…to see my name upon the billboards of achievement. To sing a song of victory in the battlefields of despair.
I live the with sacred obligation – to repay God for his opportunity.
To make the most of everyday. To live my life to the fullest. To maximize whatever talents I’ve been given.
Did I live today to the fullest? Only when I answer “yes,” am I able to sleep comfortably.
Are the things you accomplish unique? Or can anyone do them?
If your trophies are common, then nobody will care about you. They won’t care about your Facebook postings, your daily affairs, etc. And the reason is simple…anybody can do the ordinary.
Anything of value takes hard work and time. Success is rooted in a thousand minute details…boring events on a Wednesday afternoon. For the musician, this means the practicing of scales. For the He-Man, it means running on a thread mill for hours. And for the author, it means reading supplementary material to strengthen his writing skills. None of these actions will go public. Nobody will applaud the boring reality that goes on “behind the scenes.”
So you have to dedicate yourself to the process. Set the goal and do the work. Be focused and diligent. Ignore the detractors…your goal is a golden cup. You should should see your name in the history books of tomorrow.
Thomas Carlyle said it best…
“The history of the world is but the biography of great men.”
So true. When somebody tells you, “I can’t do this because I have kids,” then you are speaking to a loser. GREAT MEN have children…and they accomplish GREAT THINGS. So stop using that excuse as a crutch. Do more, be more. Shake free of the weakness that clouds your mind.
Go for something higher…something beyond the commonplace. Only then will you be interesting to others and, ultimately, gain the adoration you seek. Are you a warrior or a child? Decide right now. Pick up the staff of determination and fight, my lad!
How does the weak man rise? How does he assume the seat of power? He cannot do it by his talent, his intelligence, or his will. So he resorts to another strategy…guilt.
So what will you do, strong man? How will you react to the guilt trip? You can acquiesce, admit you’re evil, and grovel at the degenerate feet of the weak man. You can agree to flagellate yourself for the sins of your father, your grandfather, and your great-grandfather. You can apologize for the history you had no part of. You can apologize for sins you never committed.
No…here’s something better!
Punch the weak man in the nose. Drive him out of your home. Protect your family with firearms if the weak man (or woman) is invading your space. Proclaim your strength, your self-worth, and your nobility.
Martin Luther said it best in Table Talk. You can never passively adhere to your faith. For if you do, your faith will be eradicated. Soon, your nation will be overrun by heretics. They’ll destroy your tradition and religion. So what will you do? Practice peace? Apologize for living? No…Martin Luther was right. A faith is only protected by the sword. And the very house you live in – and the freedoms your family enjoy – are paid for by the blood of others.
So you can never surrender to the degenerate agenda of the weak. Their life is misery.