Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Or Less

To my son Tommy,

Everything you do in life, or have done in your past, should be evaluated using a simple equation.  Should I do this more or less?  It is simple enough.  If something is good for you chances are you should do it more, either more often or perhaps on a grander scale.  If something is bad for you, do it less until it fades out of existence.

It is a natural response and a natural instinct of human nature.  You see this when you do something you haven't done in a while.  If you read a good book, you always say to yourself that you should make more time to read.  If you volunteer for a good cause, you always say you should spend more time helping others and wish there was more you could do to help.  If you call an old friend or catch up in person, you always say to yourself that you should do it more often and not have such a big break in between visits.  The human soul often craves what is good.

But there are pitfalls.  When I eat some Ben and Jerry's ice cream, I always think I should do this more often, even every day!  This is my taste buds and pleasure centers talking and occasionally they need to be trumped by logic and what you know in your heart to be true.  A pint of day will definitely not keep the doctor away and load on the fat to my already overloaded frame.  So logic dictates that, though I can still indulge occasionally, the frequency needs to be much less.

Smoking is another good example of a bad trap.  The addictive properties of a cigarette will convince your mind and your body that this is what you need more of.  You have to dig deep into your soul to overcome such convincing arguments, but deep down you know it is bad for you and you will be better off for quitting.

Once you figure out the right things to do more of, you have to commit.  I saw a recent post that said something to the effect of ... commitment is keeping the promise you made even though the mood you made the promise in has long since vanished.  That sentiment rang true and actually struck a nerve with all those resolutions that I have broken over and over.  It is easy to work out for a couple weeks, or watch your diet in the beginning, or spend some quality times with family or friends a couple times, but it is hard to keep that going.  In fact as easy as it is to promise at the start, it is even easier to rationalize quitting.

So the challenge, my son, is to evaluate everything you do and commit to doing more of those things that make you a better person and less of those things that take away from you.  It is an easy challenge to say but a tough challenge to live.  But even if you fail occasionally and have to start all over again, you will be a better person than you were the day before and that is the only person you need compare yourself to.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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