Habits and happiness

In general, there are two kinds of people. That statement can be taken in a myriad of ways. How many cliché’s can you think up that start with that?

I personally think they’re pretty ineffective at actually telling you things about people, largely because we can’t be measured quantitatively (by amount) in many aspects, but qualitatively.
Just how red is red? Just how blue is blue?
In general, there are two extremes of people:
  1. Extreme one consists of the orderly, productivity-oriented, hardworking, nose-to-the-grindstone types. Picture your stereotypical businessman with his schedule blocked in from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, complete with a personal secretary to keep him on schedule.
  2. Extreme two consists of the free thinkers. The ones with messy rooms. That “have their head in the clouds”. The disorderly. The artists, musicians, and hippies of the world, who could pass the whole day “just wasting time”.
There are pros and cons to both sides. Let’s call them “robots” and “hippies” for easier referral. Please understand that I am in no way making a social commentary – both extremes are just that. Robots can be seen as snobby, boring, uncaring, etc. Hippies can be seen as lazy, stupid, slackers, nobodies, etc. In general, robots see the bad in hippies, and hippies in robots.
None of us is truly one, or the other. We’re all somewhere in between, not necessarily straddling the line, but not reaching into the far extreme of one, either.
One important life lesson I’ve learned is the need for moderation. In this particular case, I’d like to point out the need for moderation with respect to our habits and how they help us achieve happiness.
Happiness really is the ultimate quest in life. Robots mistakenly believe that happiness comes from numbers, products, etc. Hippies mistakenly believe that happiness comes in any and all forms, and it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it makes you feel good.
We need both progress and relaxation. We need to take it slow, but that can’t come at the price of learning and growth. What’s the fun in life if we never learn anything new? What’s the joy in life if we never stop and watch the sun set? 
What’s the purpose if we never stop to spend time with the people we love? Money, possessions, rank, title – all of that doesn’t go with us when we die. Really the only thing we take with us is the same thing we leave – the legacy of our lives and what we chose to do with it.
At the end of our lives, will we look back and regret all the chances we never took? Will we wish we’d spent more time working, or will we wish we’d spent more time with our loved ones? Will we be remembered for who we were, or what we had?
Life is a time to be happy. It’s hard enough as it is. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.
The habits you develop today – for better or worse – will stay with you throughout your life. If you choose to plan, learn to plan for the future, not in order to live constantly expecting to arrive at some unattainable, idealistic goal, but so that, by planning each moment, you can truly live in that moment and love it as it is. The difference is something that you can only understand by crossing that bridge yourself.
Remember to smile!
Mark

Life, in all its wondrous twists and turns, sometimes leaves us in places we’d never expected to arrive. Perhaps it’s a sudden illness, or a freak spider bite on your foot, a failed class, a lost job, or, perhaps, a lost loved one.

It’s full of joys and sadness.

Happiness and heartache.

Hell and heaven.

Gethsemane and Eden.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought this past week as to the purpose of life. If God is omniscient, and life is a test, it seems to me that there would be no real point on God testing us to see if we would be obedient. Fact is, He knows us perfectly.

God knows our flaws. He knows our strengths. He has placed each of us in situations perfectly tailored to equally test each and every one of us. From God’s perspective, there is no real need of a test, or even judgement if you think about it.

And yet both exist, sure as the sun rises.

Why?

The test isn’t so we can prove to God that we’re willing to be obedient. It’s to prove it to ourselves. A very famous Spanish saying translates roughly to, “Between word and deed there’s a big ditch.” Saying we’d do something is far different than actually doing it. It requires effort to cross the metaphorical ditch to doing.