How to Have a Better Life

If life has you in an unproductive grip, here are some things I hope will show you how to have a better life.

Our Lives Are Not Static

Links to Amazon Books on Change. I may get a small commission if you buy a book at not cost to you. John

Our lives are not static, things change. But it sometimes seems like our life has come to a complete halt as far as progress or positive change occurs. We are in a rut. Some of us care about that status, we want to change, others simply decide to live with it, putting up with the unhappiness that often comes with it.

What Happened?

Sometimes a major change in our life stops progress, at least temporarily.

When I was in Korea (1951-52) I saw how the war had interrupted the lives and destiny of Korean families. It was affecting the lives of those of us who were doing the fighting and our loved ones at home.

In Korea we visited an abandoned farm. The farm house was a hexagonal structure with a open courtyard in the center protected from the wind. We could see where the family members cooked and ate together. I still imagine in my mind a three generation family enjoying their life immensely before the North Korean menace came down the peninsula and destroyed everything in site, tearing the man from their families to force them to serve in the North Korean army or die, killing others who resisted and such.

Of course we saw this in WWII and I had seen first hand the result on some individuals in WWI, The Great War. There is nothing great, glorious or noble about war. It’s products are death and dismay.

Here is a poem I wrote some years ago about the above Korean experience:

 

Death of a Loved One

A death in the family is very traumatic, often affecting the lives of oursiders. Illness can be devastating. Sometimes folks go into depression which they can not control without knowing why.

Losing a Job Is Traumatic

My father was out of work for two years during the Great Depression. He continually looked for work. Finally the WPA came along and he was able to get a job as an accountant. (Don’t ask me why they call things “great” when they are flat out miserable.)

When I was little I asked my bother why there were so many knife marks on the kitchen door. She told me that was where my father threw his pocket knife when he could not find work.

Anyway, when the stuff hits the fan our lives become dismal.

How Do We Find Our Way Out?

Heart, might, mind and soul are factors in our journey to a more happy and worthwhile life. So, let’s start with those factors.

Heart

This can be a lot of things such as “What is your heart set on?” or goals.

It can also mean “What do you love with all your heart?

It can be a driving force for action such as in “He doesn’t have the heart to do it.” And that can mean, he couldn’t be cruel or he isn’t strong enough mentally to do it. Listen to Peggy Lee:

If you have heart, you can grab your bootstraps and pull yourself out of the mud. If you have heart, you will bless those you love.

If you have heart, you will have passion and understanding and empathy for others and their situations.

Might

Rich people have might because of their wealth and influence. However, I’m thinking of our physical strength that allows us to accomplish our daily task. I have lost my physical might in that expect me to shovel my neighbors driveway when the snow falls. Expect to see my caregivers doing the shoveling on my walk and my neighbors.

If we lack physical strength, we still can do things like pushing the keys on a laptop keyboard as I’m doing. But there are many examples of people who do far more than anyone would expect.

A friend of mine in Payson, Arizona is confined to a wheelchair and is extremely crippled. She takes care of her 4 children, whom now are probably all grown, but she takes a couple of those short crutches under her arms and struggles to walk around the city lake. A beautiful lady struck by a terrible illness but uses what strength she can generate to propel herself onword. (When I was helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, we built her home. She did her owner part by doing some of the work.)

Robert Lewis Stevenson

Robert Lewis Stevenson, the great writer, said he never did feel one day in his life well enough to get out of bed, but if he did not, nothing would be accomplished. We all have enjoyed his great stories and books.

The bottom line is that we should take care of our bodies by staying away from harmful substances and by maintaining or increasing our physical strenght. Then something will be accomplished.

Mind

It was once said that if you read ten minutes each day on a particular subject that you could gain some degree of proficiency in one year. Now, with our overflow of information, they are saying that it takes 5 years to become proficient. We all know, or many of us, that it takes 8-10 years to become proficient and even then we must keep learning.

Starting anything new means that you need to obtain more knowledge. For success, there is always that requirement which is sometimes very difficult. We all need to refresh are minds with new information and by being creative, by solving tough problems. The driving force to do all of this is that we can obtain great satisfaction by doing so.

Soul

You need to place some value on yourself to be happy. Many ask, “Why are we here?” meaning what is the meaning our creation. We humans thing we are better than the other members of our species, something special because of our different abilities and accomplishments. We have special talents spread amongst the human race and they are often developed, having less value until we do such. There are no chimpanzee concert pianist, writers, artist, scientist, etc. Of course, our chimpanzee friends are much stronger than us and they certainly can do things we can’t do, but we see our abilities as special and therefore we are superior.

These feelings are important. They help us to develop complex societies. Problems related to that development are often solved. We don’t have the slightest ability to avoid war, the most heinous of all crimes. We decide that the only way to avoid war is to build a big defensive force which usually becomes offensive. War is a sickness that needs to be cured.

But our feeling of net self-worth is generated by what we believe. Religion plays an important part. Most religions believe in an afterlife of some sort. Christians even claim godhood by claiming to be God’s children. The belief in the resurrection is often used to rationalize the killing in war. After all, all the war dead will be resurrected.

Some believe in reincarnation. This belief is more common than one might think. It creeps into Christianity. Is believing in a past life, the present life and a future live, reincarnation. Well, it is not like some beliefs where you may be born into one class of society (caste) and end up in another and then another until you come to the happy state of “nothingness.”

Nothing occurs without faith. Faith starts with a dream and then becomes a reality. It is this knowledge that we have that keeps up on our feed and moving ahead. For those who do not follow what I am saying about faith, think of two towns on a wide river across from each other. They can only visit by boat. They dream of a bridge. The Mayors get together and decide that contributions, taxes and tolls can pay for the bridge. An engineer draws a sketch. Builders bid on the bridge, changing the design. The final plans are drawn and the contractors build the bridge. A dream, faith, and action are the keys to the bridge. Many were involved. As Steve Jobs said:

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. Steve Jobs
Thanks to: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stevejobs737723.html

One way to get out of the doldrums and difficulties of life is to have others help you with your goals and you help them with there difficulties.

In fact, one of the best way to move forward is to stop thinking about ourselves and to think about others. Sometimes when we see that others have problems, we see that our problems are not as bad and that most of them are salvable.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

As I said, we can do things that others can’t do. One thing we can do is we can live in the past long before we were born, back to the beginning of time and space. We can also live in the future. Doesn’t it say on your Calendar that Christmas will surely come on Tuesday, December 25, 2051. (Such a perpetual calendar can be found on the internet.)

Actually I know exactly what I was doing on that Tuesday, December 25, 1951. We were fighting Chinese on Hill 1243 in the Punch Bowl in Korea–I snow and cold.

I was born on a Tuesday in January of 1932. I can’t remember that but I’m positive is true. My little brother was born a Thursday in 1935. This event is vividly implanted in my brain because I was in my parent’s bedroom when he was born. So were my parents, our doctor (Dr. Phelps), his nurse, Our neighbor (Sister Perry) who was looking after me and a very bright incandescent light bulb overhead. I was in my iron crib, like a cage when the sides were up, was wet lying on a rubber sheet and I was mad. When they told me I had another brother, I could have cared less. I was taken by the hand of Sister Perry and walked to through the cold dining room into a kitchen which was barely getting warm. When they put a bowl of mush in front of me instead of my salt bacon and eggs that my mother served, I knew we were poor. (Mormon’s call church members brother and sister.)

I can live in my mother and father’s past and my grandparents past because they lived with us and told us about their lives. My mother was born in a tent in 1901 in a mining town (Silver City, UT). My father was ranching in Rich County, UT (named after my great great great Uncle Charles C. Rich) when he was a youngster and he was kidnapped by Ute Indians in 1900 when he was two weeks old.

What happened in the past can influence our present and future. The times it is best to block out the past so that we can get on with our future. Our future should be based on our dreams and faith in our ability to make those dreams come true. The things we do now in our short present help us to improve the future.

It’s time for us to get on with our future life.

Steve Jobs Pic links to Amazon books about Steve. I may get a small commission if you buy a book at no cost to you. John

One last quote from Steve Jobs:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Steve Jobs
Thanks to: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stevejobs416859.html

John T. Jones, Ph.D.
Buhl, ID

P.S. Steve Jobs died to young but he plugged on despite difficuities until his death. Here is his Stanford University Commencement Address:

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