Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pride comes before a fall

What is pride? A feeling of self-importance? A sense of being a bit better than others? We all feel it at sometimes and it can be a healthy thing if we are separating ourselves from those whose ways really are appalling. But if it is just false pride we are empty fools puffed up with our own self importance.

Pride in a job well done is a rewarding state of mind when we know that something we did is to a high standard and our peers acknowledge it. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that, in its proper time and place. So where does the "fall" bit come in?

If you have become complacent and start to enjoy being superior to others you set yourself up for disappointment when someone bigger and better than you comes along, and your prestige takes a tumble. Suddenly you are yesterday's person, and all your greatness shrivels.

The poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, expressed it very well in his poem:

OZYMANDIAS I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
"Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He that buys what he does not want must often sell what he does want

This is a caution against being careless with money. The first "want" being used in the sense of "need" and the second "wish to have". If you squander your money on unnecessary purchases you will likely end up losing that which you would rather keep. Ask any bankrupt.

The world's economy at the present time is reeling as a result of too many people living beyond their means and using credit to subsidise an extravagant lifestyle. You need to learn to cut you coat according to your cloth and live within your means. Neither a borrower nor a lender be is a wise old saying that recognises the foolishness and potential danger of debt.

Whilst being debt free is an excellent goal there can be times when borrowing makes sense. The important thing is to look ahead and consider what might go wrong. What happens if you lose your job, if illness strikes or unexpected demands arise on your income? Life can never be risk free but you must be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When things are at their worst they will mend

This might just be wishful thinking, after all this is based on retrospective judgements. Looking back after a traumatic time you might think that it was at the moment you thought it impossible to go on that salvation occurred. But what if it hadn't? Would you have found further reserves and managed to stumble along for longer? There is no way you can know that.

However, this saying is useful as a way of keeping your spirits up when all seems lost or unbearable. It is always darkest before the dawn is much the same idea. No matter what the difficulties and dangers we must always struggle on and hope that the crisis will come to a head and then right itself.

With the aid of other proverbs such as: Where there's a will there's a way and Never say die you must stay positive and have faith in a happy outcome. As they say: Cheer up, the worst seldom happens.
Defeat anxiety and panic attacks

Sunday, March 09, 2008

While flatterers pipe, devils dance

Even though we know we shouldn't we all prefer the praise of the silver-tongued charmer to the sober realities of constructive criticism. It is so much nicer to have your beliefs that you are really rather special and gifted confirmed than to hear that you really need to apply yourself and raise your game.

Flattery will get you anywhere they say and none of us are immune. The sad truth is that when you are hearing what you want to hear the chances are it is blather and you are being led up the garden path.

Don't let flatterers take advantage of your natural human wish for praise and approval. The devil looks after his own but that doesn't include you -- does it?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Old Age Seldom Comes Alone

This usually refers to the aches and pains that develop with the advancing years as people realise that the body that carried them since birth is wearing out, and no longer functions as smoothly.

The sheer joy of a young body in peak condition effortlessly surging through the daily tasks and trials of life is but a fond memory. The triumphs of the sporting field when every sinew, muscle and tendon pulled together in perfect harmony to propel this amazing living machine through the air live on in the imagination only, as the grim reality of arthritis and other degenerative diseases take their toll. It sometimes seems like the revenge of some evil entity that envied your youth and vigour and seeks now to punish you for the joys once experienced.

But you also have a soul that burns brighter with age as wisdom increases. Your delight in the new, young, life forces of your children and grandchildren compensates for your own decline. It is as if your vital energies are passing into them so that life may be carried on and on into the marvels of the future.

Man has often looked at the stars and wondered what lies beyond, and with age that wonder increases. The true immensity and complexity of existence has filled your mind for so many years, tantalising with thoughts of the possibility of everlasting life in a heavenly paradise -- something that you can never know for sure.

Are we alone, or does a new existence await where all our departed friends and relatives will gather, smiling and eager for our coming?