3 Steps to a Better Life

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3 Easy Steps : Step 1- A Simple Life (continued)

S T E P   O N E - KEEP YOUR LIFE SIMPLE (continued)

A simple life personifies the following:

  1. ELIMINATE SELF-IMPORTANCE.

Self-importance is the basic culprit or cause of vanity.

Commercialism feeds on vanity.

We don’t mean a disregard for your welfare.

Welfare is different from vanity.

The former is a concern for well-being that is having just enough of what you NEED.

Vanity is craving more than what meets your DESIRE.

The former is a responsibility.

The latter entails selfishness and self-centeredness.

It is mere egoism. It is mostly doing something to prove a point or to prove your self - to feed the ego.

As long as you’re out to prove something, you’re susceptible to pressure.

Proving something means you are competing — with who is better or has something better.


If you grew up in a city, chances are, you’ve been raised in an environment of proving your worth.

You have been exposed to competition.

The usual city motto is “Not just at par—yours must be better.”
           
            The “Standard”

“Standard” often means what is generally expected and accepted.

“Generally” implies that the people took it upon themselves to impose on others what they expect and accept.


The “standard,” or what is generally accepted or expected, is often just the whim of some self-important people given authority also by other self-important people.

you join their self-importance, you will never be able to escape the cycle of vanity, and you will never live a simple life.


Standards, indeed, are necessary to gauge good performance and to establish right and wrong.

However, they must be TRUE standards that are objective and unbiased.


Standards often times can be manipulated to serve a selfish end.

These standards are subjective or biased, and are oftentimes false.

They can be ruthlessly used for commercialism.

Standards will serve us right as long as they are unstained by ulterior or deceitful motives.


If you don’t succumb to the general “standard,” how would you know if you are doing right or wrong?

How would you know if you are improving or worsening?


The questions therefore should be, “Is what you are doing increasing or decreasing your self-importance?

Is it promoting the cravings of your ego, or promoting simplicity in you? Is it reducing your pride? Is it making you meek?”

This standard leads to a quiet, simple life.


Whatever you are doing, though it looks good to people and gains their approval, will likely lead you away from a simple life if it promotes your self-importance.

that feeds self-importance, or the ego, is unlikely to end up in a long, healthy, and happy life.

  1. ELIMINATE NEGATIVE STRESS

Necessary stress is called eustress

. You need it to boost good performance.

It works more like a challenge to give your best to a certain task.

You can have this stress and still live simply.


What we don’t like is distress. It is having more stress than you need to accomplish a task happily.

It is stress born out of stiff competition.

Having to pay for bills incurred by things you really need causes eustress.

Having to pay for bills incurred by materialistic desires, especially when the bills have mounted up, causes distress.

Once desires are fed, they grow into devouring monsters.

Coping up with Stress


This is how the body copes up with any kind of stress.


Your brain has a nerve center called hypothalamus.

Stress begins to affect you there.

The nerves affected then activate your pituitary gland, which secretes or sends a hormone to excite your adrenal glands.

This reaction produces “adrenaline” or the “emergency” hormone that makes you more ready to face a suspense or thrill.


Then your heart begins to beat faster, then wilder, sending more blood to the brain and muscles.

You become doubly or triply aware of your situation and ready to jump at anything that moves.

Breathing becomes faster and deeper; you may even start to gasp for air.

This sends more oxygen to your body.

Saliva and mucus dry up to increase the size of your body tubes to your lungs.

You may find it difficult to swallow (no saliva), but your body will make up for the loss of saliva by perspiring to cool you down.

Your intestines stop digestion for a while to conserve your energy.


When the stress is gone, all body systems return to normal.

You will find that you feel much better after the stress reaction.

You will regain oxygen in your body, good blood circulation, and conservation of energy.

When you see what body functions are involved during a stressful situation, you will understand why stress, especially eustress,is necessary and even healthy.

A good physical exercise and a healthy working environment use this type of stress.

Facing challenges calmly and positively also utilizes eustress.


However, imagine what would happen with distress, especially a prolonged one.

The struggle in your body continues and increases at a stimulated level, badly affecting internal systems.

After some time, the body becomes exhausted and abused.

It becomes ill or susceptible to misjudgments that lead to relational conflicts (that produce more distress) or accidents.


            Distress often results in fatigue :

  1. Physical fatigue – The body is overworked or becomes too exhausted, often leading to illnesses.
  2. Pathological fatigue – Body defenses (immune system) to fight diseases wear down.
  3. Psychological fatigue – Mental stress destroys mental calmness and sensibility.
  4. Psychosomatic fatigue – Both mental and physical parts are overworked.

    DESIRE LESS.

Need is a word different from desire.

Extreme desire often leads to unwanted problems. In a too commercialized world, people usually cannot accurately identify their needs from their wants or desires.

For instance, a sales agent may not be able to reconcile his sales commission earnings and his lifestyle.

Sales and marketing people often find themselves in a fashion struggle with their sales rivals.

The idea usually is that making sales depend largely on how fashionable you are - how you are fitted with the latest trend on wears and gadgets.


Take these cases.


CASE # 1: You may really want to be in social work, but the pay is too low to support your dream to have a car;

so you sacrifice your real love and force yourself on something you really do not need.

This causes much distress.

Yes, you may have the money, but you will have to pay a big price for it.


CASE # 2: You may want to be a simple homemaker and focus on your children, but other homemakers in your neighborhood have joined the bandwagon of office work.

You see that they are able to buy more than what your family can.

Therefore, even if it is against your will, you abandon the care of your kids to a babysitter, start your heavy trek to the jungle out there, and look for a job.

The basic idea is to desire less materially.

Do what you must do to fulfill a need. Work on it heartily, but do not impose on yourself a desired outcome.

Make goals if you wish to — to inspire (not pressure) yourself to more productivity.

If you hit your goals, be thankful. If not, so what?

Forgive yourself then try better next time. Do not punish yourself for not hitting the goals.


You may not see this as a good work habit.

You may even think that this work principle would accomplish practically nothing.

Some may see this as destroying the healthy incentive in competition.

But it’s either you win in stressful competitions all your life and have the enjoyment short-lived, or you live a simple but long, happy, and healthy life;

though you may not look like a winner in people’s eyes. You cannot have both masters pleased; you can only choose one.


You may window shop in malls all you want and enjoy everything you see.

Buy something you need if you can afford it.

However, do not feel sorry or be anxious for things you want but cannot afford. Assume the attitude that says,

“So what if I can’t afford it? I don’t need it anyway. And I won’t die if I can’t have it.”


Always remark “SO WHAT?” to things you want but cannot afford or achieve.

Then really mean it. It does wonders to the soul — and health.


Step1 Continued on next page. Click Here