Friday, February 17, 2012

Foundations

Every journey needs foundational principles.  Here are mine.

1.  Don't feed the sheep.

This one probably sounds odd to most of you, but familiar to some.  Typically, 'sheep' refers to sheeple, or a conformist.  I use the term slightly differently.  To me, a sheep is someone who does not actively work toward giving their lives meaning.  Some people are kept from living their lives through adversity, but they are not necessarily sheep.  Non-sheep are those who fight for their right to live their lives their way, for good or ill.  That's not to say that all non-sheep are good, of course.  Al Capone wasn't a sheep, but he wasn't a good man, either.  I'm also not calling sheep bad.  Sheep don't take journeys, they simply graze.  Get enough of them together, though, and you won't be able to get around them to progress on your journey.

2.  Make your meaning.

My philosophy is that the only meaning in our lives is what we give it.  Maybe we choose to focus on family, supporting our spouse, raising our children, and having a few hobbies.  Or maybe we choose to be great leaders, deep-thinking scientists, writers, adventurers, philosophers, money-makers, inventors, or socialites.  The meaning gives the journey direction, way points, and a purpose.

3.  Never stop dreaming.

Our dreams is what gives out journey depth.  It allows us to accomplish things that we otherwise would not have.  Dreams led us to new continents, walking on the moon, the internet, and social equality.  Dreams give you the motivation to take each step in your journey.

4.  Never stop learning.

Many times, our journeys become difficult.  The path gets steep, rugged, or down right dangerous.  There are ways around most obstacles in our path, as many of them have been circumvented before by others.  Want to write an app for a phone, but don't know how to code?  There are books for that.  Want to lose a few pounds to make the journey a bit easier?  There is almost too much advice for that.  Want to learn a new language?  There are books, videos, podcasts, and blogs all over.  Learning gives us ways around most obstacles in our journey.

5.  Never stop thinking.

Every journey has choices.  Do you go left or right?  To college or straight to employment?  Some choices are easier to make than others.  Some paths are 'worn about the same'.  Not taking the time to think (or improving our ability to think) can lead us to taking a bad path, one that may end the journey prematurely.  Thinking can (but not always) help us take the better path.

6.  Never stop loving.

No worthwhile journey is completely alone.  There will be others crossing your path, or even journeying with you.  And you'll constantly run into flocks of sheep.  Journeys never happen if you keep stopping for the sheep.  And a journey can be made better with a good traveling partner.  Being able to love and feel love, both platonic and romantic, will help you find the best traveling partners.  Nearly every journey is better if shared with others.

7.  Never stop making the effort.

Any journey can be broken up to a series of smaller moments.  A physical journey is the combination of a great many single steps.  An intellectual journey is a combination of a lot of facts and relationships between them.  A journey in writing requires just one letter types or written after another.  The effort goes into each of those small moments.  Without effort, our journey will never happen.

There you have it.  My foundation is currently maintained by six principles that work together to make my journey both possible and eventful.  They don't guide my choices during the journey, that's for my five values, but they do give me the chance to put those values into practice.

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