Sunday, October 28, 2007

The eagle does not catch flies.

The eagle does not catch flies.

This is a proverb from the time of the Roman Empire and has passed into many languages. The eagle standard that led the all-conquering army symbolized the mighty ambitions of the rulers of Rome.

Obviously a large bird of prey has to hunt animals of a reasonable size to justify the time and effort and it is this underlying principle that gives the proverb meaning.

One relevant aspect of this saying for today is a caution not to spend time and energy pursuing the insignificant. Everyone is very busy but do we always do too many niggling little tasks when we would be better focussing on major ones? Getting your priorities right means dealing with the big issues and not being bogged down in matters that can wait or be avoided. You might be convincing yourself that you are busy but unless the time and effort produces a meaningful return you are simple wasting time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Zeal is like fire: it needs feeding and watching.

Zeal is like fire: it needs feeding and watching.

Enthusiasm tends to blaze brightly then fizzle out. How many millions of New Year's resolutions are made annually in a cheery glow of optimism only to have vanished by the end of January?
Sometimes this is because the intention was not properly thought through. The degree of commitment and time was not clearly understood. If a desirable benefit is to be achieved it is usually necessary to be prepared to make sacrifices - the gain must be worth the candle. Ask yourself: is it an achievable worthwhile aim or just a escapist daydream?

Having committed to an enterprise, of whatever sort it, is natural that the original impetus will falter, you should expect this and be prepared for it. It is useful to review and assess your projects from time to time and remember why you started them, and that your goals are worthy of putting up with the downsides. Taking things step by step, with definable goals and rewards along the way, can be an effective technique in maintaining that starting zeal.

May the fires of your life burn forever brightly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You take more care of your shoe than your foot

You take more care of your shoe than your foot.

How many ladies have risked their feet by wearing fashionable shoes that just don't fit? Probably most. The main purpose of footwear is to protect the feet but the siren call of elegance and allure overwhelm good sense, and the result is ugly bunions, crossed toes and needless suffering. Is it worth it girls? Won't he still love you in a pair of big comfortable boots? If not you could at least give him a better kick!

This saying, at a deeper level, is warning us of the human tendency to get our priorities wrong. We deal with superficialities instead of the real issues. People can become obsessed, for example, with getting money when it is the benefits of money that are important. By budgeting more wisely and making your income go further you can get the same advantages and more time to enjoy them.

Some people will push themselves to a breakdown to afford a big house they do not need, forgeting that it is the happiness of the people living in a house that is the great thing, not merely owning it. Better a happy family in a small house than a miserable one in a mansion.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wherever a man dwells, there will be a thorn bush near his door

Wherever a man dwells, there will be a thorn bush near his door.

Wherever you live, whatever you do, there will always be problems. Perfection is unknown to mere mortals so you had better get used to life's aggravations because they are never very far away.

Civilization is primarily concerned with Man's attempt to dominate and control his environment. In the early days of life organisms slowly changed, adapted and evolved to the environments in which they lived, but humans learned to adapt the environment itself. But however good we get at it, there is always another problem. Pause for a moment, and Nature seizes the opportunity to fight back.

It follows that your life philosophy must include a "permanent effort" clause. The golden moments when everything is going great do not last, and "constant vigilance" is the watch word. There is always a thorn near you, and the chances are your foot is heading for it.