Alexander the Great. Even though he lived on this Earth for only 33 years, some 2,300 years ago, we have yet to forget his name and legendary battles.
During his short life, nothing stopped him. Nothing. Huge armies with elephants, impregnable fortresses, vast distances over mountains and rivers and deserts, hunger, thirst, the sea itself, the uttermost extremes of physical hardship and war. His body was littered with scars; everywhere that is, except his back. That’s because the world’s greatest commander never retreated, and he never lost a battle.
Most of his portraits, sculptures, and coins reflect a kind of upward gaze as if he were staring into the very heavens, yearning for something unreachable.
He dedicated his life to the struggle against insurmountable odds. And he became great because he surmounted them all.
Disclaimer: this is going to be a long and (somewhat) harsh post about certain realities of life most of us are trying to evade by all means possible.
I am not writing this post out of empathy. I am not writing this post because I read some articles and now I am trying to pass along the knowledge.
I am writing this article because I understand.
I understand the difference between the burning pain of suffering deeply and the general apathy and hopelessness of depression. The emptiness. The lack of interest, joy, passion. I understand the despair, the loneliness, the reluctance to discuss about it all, the very fatiguing job of hiding it all behind a smile, or an “I’m fine” delivered in the worst way possible. Continue reading →
People often think of success as a singular moment. It’s not.
Think of it this way. One day you get sick and tired of always being sick and tired by the way you look. You can’t stand seeing yourself in the mirror, so you decide it’s time to go to the gym.
You work out for a day or two. What happens after that? Do you see any results? Do the people around you?
If nothing changed, are you a failure? What happened?
Do a lot of people give up because after one, two, twenty workouts, there’s still no visible change? There’s no one to acknowledge their work? What if they quit, and then start over, and then quit again, and then start again… and one day, they just keep going?
If they keep working out, going to the gym, day after day after day, and then, one day, they look in the mirror and they go like, “Wow.” And all their friends and family congratulate them on what they achieved.
Is that the moment when they became successful? Or did everything before that moment lead to the moment when everyone else acknowledged their success?
Why do I use a graphic of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a reality key to a successful life as a person and as a culture.
I began studying psychology in 1969, as a Freshman in college. I had a predisposition to being interested in human behavior. I felt the same about psychology as I imagine a lot of people do about chemistry, engineering, nutrition, or medicine. I felt psychology held the keys to understanding and improving the quality of life for everyone. During my Sophomore year I changed my major to psychology (it had been music).
As time went on, I found myself in a wide range of environments, exposed to just about the full gamut of human behaviors. All through this time I have had the good fortune to be exposed to instruction ranging from the cutting edge, the…