Pride. A father proud of his son.

Pride

Do you feel good about yourself?

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life? Do you think or talk about it a lot?

Pride is a double-edged sword. It has historically been considered an undesirable trait, while humility has been considered a virtue. The “sin of pride” is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in this context, pride is a relative term—we would have to feel we’re better than other people. It could also be interpreted as arrogance, which takes that superior feeling one step further—to acting superior or saying that we’re superior.

Pride can also have positive connotations. The positive feelings that come from knowing we did something well or achieved something are part of our motivation for doing those things. Pride gives us confidence. It can be the foundation for our belief in ourselves and our ability.

Read More
Hero. Fireman Rescuing a Baby From Burning House

Hero

The meanings of certain words have been diluted in this age of instantaneous information. People throw the them around without a thought to their meaning or their impact. To me, “hero” is an important example.

In the past, I tended to cringe whenever I heard the word “hero,” mainly because I heard it so much. It used to be reserved for those among us who did truly extraordinary things or were able to get jobs done in extremely trying circumstances.

So what is the essence of acting heroically? Is it overcoming fear? Is it committing fully to a course of action? Is it going the extra mile? It may be all of these, some combination, or something entirely different. The essence of heroism is inherently ineffable. If it was something that could be measured or taught, it would lose its mystique.

Read More
Woman volunteering at community soup kitchen

Action

Walking the walk and talking the talk.

Do you act on what is important to you, or are your values more of a feeling?

I write a lot about values, thoughts, and emotions, but what does all this mean in terms of how we interact with the world? Does it translate into a foundation for our actions?

What we do on a day-to-day basis matters. Taking the extra step when it’s consistent with our worldview or values is important.

In our busy society, we are constantly working the margins of time management. We try to make every second matter so that we can add to our stock of available time (see time). We get irritated if we lose a few seconds at a stoplight or if we have a slow driver in front of us. With this mind-set, it can be hard to take advantage of unscheduled opportunities to act on our values and to step up when we see a need.

Read More
Sad girl in bed, backlit scene.

Acceptance

It is what it is.

As we journey through our lives, certain people, events, and conditions will come and go, sometimes when we really don’t want them to. Some of these we will have influence over, and some we won’t.

Some of these things are relatively minor. Catching a cold, having a fender bender, having a game rained out—these are things most of us can roll with without too much agita. But each of us, at some time or another, will also face the big things: divorce, losing a job, death. These things are harder to accept quickly, nor should we try to.

In any case, a better sense of how we handle adversity can take away some of the stress associated with our negative responses to those events, big or small.

Read More
Ticket. A Woman holding her passport and ticket while standing in an airport.

Ticket

For me, one of the most interesting times in life is buying a plane ticket. Seems pretty straightforward, but to me that’s an exciting moment—one filled with the promise of adventure.

When buying plane tickets, many people buy the nonrefundable kind because they’re cheaper. When we click that button, we’re making a commitment to the trip and all it entails. We’re taking a leap of faith. We have faith that our seat will be there, that the plane will get us where we’re going, that the 1,001 arrangements we made will pan out. Maybe it’s commitment to having a good time or to achieving a goal.

In all of our lives, we don’t personally handle all the details. In the simplest transactions, we take many things on faith. When we do something as basic as buying milk, we assume that it was properly handled, that it was processed correctly, that the date stamp is right. We don’t check each of these things. We are making a leap of faith, and we are leaping every day.

Read More