Our Modern Day Paradoxes


Does it serve our purposeIs what we do, individually or as a society, conducive to fostering better lives for ourselves—finding happiness, productivity and sustainability? Or could the things we do unwittingly lead us to create the circumstances responsible for our stresses, our frustrations, our inequities, our shortcomings, our mistakes and, possibly, our downfall?

A “paradox” is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that, when investigated or explained, may prove to be well-founded or true.

Georges CarlinPhilosopher and comedian, George Carlin, is known for his incisive satire and sarcasm. In a recording, he cleverly points to the contradictions between that which we do versus the outcomes that we desire, or the virtues with which we would like to ascribe ourselves.

This week’s blog post is about our reflection and our engagement. Please, enjoy the following transcript of the insightful comments by Carlin and provide your reactions in the comment section. Share how you feel about specific statements, or comment about how we, humans, fare in creating environments in which we hope to thrive, and in fostering a civilization in which we believe.

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The paradox, these days, is that…

♦We have more knowledge, but less patience and tolerance.Highway

♦Our highways are wider, but our perspectives are narrower.

♦We spend more, but have less.

♦We purchase more, but enjoy less.

♦We have bigger houses, but smaller families; more amenities, but less time.

♦We have more degrees, but less common sense; more education, but less good judgment; more pundits, but also more problems; more medication, but less wellness.

Drink smoke♦We drink too much, smoke too much and spend too recklessly, but hardly laugh enough.

♦We drive too fast, and are too angry, but ignore wasted time and kinder ways.

♦We turn in too late and wake up too tired.

♦We don’t read enough, watch too much TV… and rarely meditate.

♦We have accrued more valuable possessions, but lost our values.

♦We talk too much, yet seldom love, and we hate too often.

Moon♦We are taught to earn a living, but not to lead meaningful lives.

♦We have prolonged life expectance, but not increased life quality.

♦We landed on the moon, but won’t cross the street to meet a new neighbor.

♦We seek to conquer the universe beyond our world, but not our inner-workings.

Big Buildings♦We produce bigger things, but not better ones.

♦We have better hygiene, but pollute our minds with nonsense.

Atom♦We’ve dismantled the atom, but not our prejudices.

♦We send more messages, but receive less meaningful ones.

♦We plan and work more, but accomplish less.

♦We’ve grown accustomed to stress, but not to waiting.

♦We build computers to store more information, to produce more copies than ever before, but lost our touch in our personal communications.

♦We live in an era of fast-food, but slow digestion; of great men, but low integrity; of record profits, but superficial purpose and relationships.

Big House♦Our generation produces two incomes, but more divorces; fancy houses, but broken homes.

♦We live in times of short trips, disposable diapers, low moral values, one-night-stands, obesity and pills for just about anything—uppers, downers, for sleeping or killing—which oppose the balance and meaning we seek in life and for our world.

Fast Paced

Hug♥ Remember to say I love you to your partner and to your beloved ones, but, above all, believe it. A kiss and a hug will relieve pain, when they are sincere.

Hold Hands♥ Remember to hold hands and cherish that moment, because, one day, this person will be gone from your life, forever….

 

Love♥ Make time to love, to talk to and share your thoughts and emotions with others.

 

♥ And never forget that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by those precious occasions that take your breath away.Breath

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Carlin CloseIf this resonates with you, please share your opinions in the comment section.

Only by speaking up about how we feel can we determine a consensus about acceptable norms for society.

I wish you and yours much Success and Happiness, ahead. For more ideas and strategies on awareness, our potential, our success and happiness, please follow this Blog and consult Our X Factor, available everywhere in paperback and e-format and at http://www.ourxfactor.com/.

Xavier Van de Lanotte

Our X Factor Banner

We all have an X factor…

 

Bookmark every day with Success and Happiness.

About Our X Factor

Our X Factor is a book featuring a unique three-pronged approach to achieve success and happiness every day—Awareness, Making it Happen, Making it Count—and inspires positive outlooks on life in dealing with our situations, interactions and relationships, our purpose, potential, dreams and goals, and our choices, actions and determination, to give our lives each day our very best.

The book is rich with quotations, references, stories, examples and anecdotes that highlight throughout the book the behavioral, psychological and philosophical aspects of our quest for success and happiness.

An X factor is the quality that bestows unique characteristics leading to the achievement of extraordinary successes and spectacular accomplishments, among other amazing things.

Yet we all have an X factor, without exceptions! Our X Factor guides us through an exciting, informative and enlightening journey, and shows us how to BE GREAT!

We were all born ordinary people. Yet we can lead extraordinary lives!

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VICTORY! Do this, get that, and be HAPPY…


money cant buy“Money can’t buy happiness.” We’ve heard it before, and at this dawn of “mindfulness” era (yes, the world and our perspectives are changing), people are less and less inclined to argue this statement.

It remains, nonetheless, that we would like to believe that there are certain things that make us happy. Is it a fallacy to think so, or is it more commonly our figures of speech leading us to confusion about our true state of happiness?

Happy PharrelHello everyone, and welcome to my blog. My name is Xavier Van de Lanotte, strategy consultant, writer and speaker. My interest resides in “strategy” and “success and happiness”, which isn’t coincidental.

From my perspective, both subjects spawn from a same logical approach, which is about making sense out of what we, humans, do, whether it is to sustain our existence through our professions, or to manage other aspects of our lives. If a corporation creates customer value to rationalize its existence, then we, individually, rationalize our lives through our purpose. My focus is to help optimize the processes that lead to the achievement of the best possible outcomes for both, people and companies.

PurposeToday I’d like to examine what the “act” of “being happy” may, or may not entail, as it doesn’t always add up to what we believe it is, or, at least, the way we talk about it. Why should this matter to us? It matters if we care to have a greater awareness about ourselves and our environment and put what we do with our lives into proper perspective; i.e.: to have a deep understanding of our purpose and our process.

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Yard workPeople say the darnedest things sometimes. What they say may sound great or quaint and innocuous, sometimes even uplifting. Yet at a deeper level, does it make sense?

I’m retired, Xavier. I take care of my home and garden, and I visit with my grandchildren, and that makes me happy,” my always-jovial neighbor told me, recently.

At the end of a day at the office, I’m happy to get home and pour a glass of wine for me and my husband, and I cook a meal we enjoy at the table with our kids ,” I overheard a woman say at a cocktail party, two weeks ago.

MarriageGetting married! Soooo Happy…♥♥♥☺” a friend posted on Facebook, just this weekend, to share the news about her engagement.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are my source of happiness…, I’d do anything for them. But this is my ‘me’ time I get to enjoy three times a week,” a member at my gym told me last month.

Man, I’m so happy! I’ve finally fixed up my boat and I’m taking it out to go fish on the bay with some friends, this weekend. You should come sometime,” an acquaintance told me, earlier this summer.

Money can't buy happinessMoney can’t buy happiness… but it helps,” is more often what we really hear people say.

All of these quotes sound marvelously exciting. They bring us joy. They help us get through the day. They illustrate all the wonderful things for which we are grateful. They testify to the fact that life offers more than the daily grind at the workplace and the headaches we put up with, day after day, year after year. And they remind us that we have others in our lives to love, to connect with, and to share things with, the good and the bad. It’s great! We could have been much worse off…

Fishing boatSadly enough, they are also indicative that something may be missing. There isn’t enough money (ever—LOL). We can’t spend all of our time with the grandchildren or the children—they have lives too. How much time of our year are we actually fishing in the bay with our friends, floating on our prized possession? Will the change in marital status really fill our lives with bliss? And aren’t we a bit too old to have moved into a fixer-upper, if our homes and gardens take up this much of our time in retirement?

At some point, we could admit that these wonderful things in our lives provide necessary breaks in the lives we live the rest of the time. And when we consider it this way, can we still say that we are truly happy? Can we be happy just part of the time; certain times of the day, certain periods of the year, or from the time we get engaged until sometime after our honeymoon is but a distant memory? Can our happiness really be contingent on our affections for other people, key events or achievements, or our possessions?

Pursuit of happinessI came across a thought-provoking post from a friend and coach this weekend that reads: “The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”

Well, if we removed all those wonderful actions or possessions from our lives, would we still be happy?

Why can’t we be happy without those things?

We should be Happy all of the Time, with or without those Things.

In a survey, the following question was asked: Which one of these brings you the most happiness?

  1. Helping others
  2. Following your dreams
  3. Making the world a better place
  4. Caring for loved ones

The answers to choose from are suggestive of the nature of the things we believe are embedded in our purpose. Each entails wonderful things to embrace, but none are sources of happiness, per se. However, the pursuit of our purpose can in fact be a source of happiness.

Actions, people or things cannot be sources of happiness, nor can their absence be sources of unhappiness. Happiness resides in our satisfaction with what we do with our lives; the fulfillment of a purpose, elaborate, humble, noble or commonplace it may be. If we do what is required to achieve that level of satisfaction, in effect, we choose to embrace our happiness.

Grand kidsWhile it is conceivable that owning a boat, fishing, raising kids and grandkids, getting married or caring for our homes is the single most important thing in our lives right now, it is unlikely that our purpose and principal reason for our entire existence can be reduced to that and that alone.

The concept—and feeling—of Happiness is profoundly rooted within our capacity to love and our ability to be at peace. But love and peace do not procure happiness; they are necessary ingredients of it. Only with the added fulfillment of our purpose can we embrace true happiness, through the knowledge that what we spend our time doing effectively satisfies the achievement of what we are supposed to do with our lives.

In reply to the survey question above, the answer choices are indivisible, from my perspective. No matter how I cut it, what I do in the fulfillment of my purpose, transpires in my achievement of all four objectives.

Four objectives

We can all think of our purpose in such fashion, as all things done, rooted in love and with the aspiration to be at peace, will result in the betterment of the world, will be of use and service to others, and will support our desire to care for our loved ones, materially, emotionally and spiritually.

To choose only one reply to the question of happiness, I must say: “2. Follow your Dream—Final answer.”

Follow your dreams

Thank you for sharing your answer to the survey question and providing your perspective about what makes you happy in a comment, below. Different suggestions will help others develop their view points. Also, please, think of this blog as my advertisement of what I do (my purpose) and let me know whether my marketing efforts (this being my Vth entry) are of value to you. How can I improve my posts to be of greater value and use to you, and inspire you to add “A Dash of Greatness” to your lives?

I wish you and yours much Success and Happiness, ahead. For more ideas and strategies on awareness, our potential, our success and happiness, please consult Our X Factor, available everywhere in paperback and e-format and at http://www.ourxfactor.com/.

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Xavier Van de Lanotte, Author

Our X Factor Banner

We all have an X factor…

 

Bookmark every day with Success and Happiness.

About Our X Factor

Our X Factor features a unique three-pronged approach to achieve success and happiness every day—Awareness, Making it Happen, Making it Count.

It is rich with quotations, references, stories, examples and anecdotes that highlight throughout the book the behavioral, psychological and philosophical aspects of our quest for success and happiness.

An X factor is the quality that bestows unique characteristics leading to the achievement of extraordinary successes and spectacular accomplishments, among other amazing things.

Yet we all have an X factor, without exceptions! Our X Factor guides us through an exciting, informative and enlightening journey, and shows us how to be GREAT!

We were all born ordinary people. Yet we can lead extraordinary lives!

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