Posts tagged ‘tolstoy’

August 10, 2008

Beating Tolstoy

Are you consciously and constantly becoming a better person?

And I mean better in every way – smarter, healthier, more skilful, more moral (whatever “more moral” is for you)… Are you on an upward curve towards the goals you’ve set? If not, what’s stopping you?

Although through the things I’ve done I’ve brought myself in a situation significantly better than that of most young people in Serbia, I was still unsatisfied. I simply wasn’t mustering the will to live the way thought I should live. Yesterday I quietly decided to change that.

This blog is a place where I’ll write about my path to becoming a person who not only knows where he’s headed, but is also unfalteringly heading there. I believe that an essential part of that is being proactive.

I like the way Wikipedia sums it up:

The word proactive was originally coined by the psychiatrist Victor Frankl in his 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning to describe a person who took responsibility for his or her life, rather than looking for causes in outside circumstances or other people. Much of this theory was formed in Nazi concentration camps where Frankl lost his wife, mother, father and family, but decided that even under the worst circumstances, people can make and find meaning.

This is what being proactive truly means: finding meaning and making a decision, no matter the circumstances, and sticking to it; changing when you decide that change should happen; accepting the chaos of everyday life and the myriad random experiences both good and ugly which you can learn from.

It’s amazing to me how little the vast majority of people is proactive in the way I described. I’ve read that the “We only use 1/10 of our brain” claim is not true. I beg to differ; looking at humanity today, it seems to me that most of us are using even less. I am amazed to what levels of lethargy so many have sunk, but are constantly failing to get out of their status quo, even though the solutions are so obvious. But no; it takes effort to change, and we’re afraid of effort. Only when we completely break down and we can’t take it anymore do we decide to change ourselves.

I paraphrased Tolstoy, who observed this perfectly:

It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable – he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated.

Well, I think that we humans can do better than that. This blog is the place where I’ll try to prove that.