Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Over-do and Don't Settle

In a Tweet that I scheduled* for earlier today (@BillSnodgrass), I claimed the following:
The world's standards are a lie--either unrealistically too high, or too low, accepting anything as a "good try." Seek truth!
Think about it...

The world wants us to think we all must look like the models we see in magazines and on television-- with the tight stomachs, or "six packs," with perfect hair, white teeth, and clear skin. Guys have to be ripped and girls need to curve in all the right ways. Bulges are for muscles only.

The world wants us in the nicest cars, fine homes, and expensive clothes. No one will accept us if we come up short!

The world wants us to smile and be happy. All the time. We must be perfect on the job, rarely making a mistake.

Media all around us demands that we reach these standards, or else we are failures! And advertisers are sure to remind us of this!

On the other hand, trends in society of accepting anything also abound. I have heard stories of teachers and coaches who were required to give EVERY member of their team or class a trophy or an award so no one would feel left out. EVERY level of performance was rewarded.

Society and media allow--even suggest that it is normal for men to be poor husbands or ill-equipped fathers because "that's just how men are." Women get, likewise, to be moody or irresponsible with money. We are told to accept substandard conduct, never judging it inferior or demanding improvement.

"Accept him for what he is," some will urge with regards to someone who consistently makes life difficult for others. "That's just his way."

Neither the unrealistically high, nor the anything-goes standards are right.

There is a better way. Look to sources of wisdom--time tested teachings, principles, and thoughts--and you will find that neither demanding perfection nor allowing blatant underperformance is acceptable. Unrealistically high or dismally low standards are not good for the person nor for society.

Set standards that make sense. Be healthy, but don't worry if you won't win a body-building contest. Try to have reliable, functional goods and safe homes, but don't worry if you can't drive a $75,000 car and live in a million dollar mansion. Learn to share life nicely with others and don't excuse yourself for things you haven't bothered learning to do. Learn to attend to others with honor and respect and don't let your natural, selfish nature hold you back.

Standards should be realistic. High standard arguably lead to a better quality of life. Fit is better than unfit. A car that works properly is better than one that won't start. Tattered clothes are usually a bummer.  But the media ideal is created by our lustful eyes and by other people's desire to SELL STUFF to us.

Accepting others is nice, but don't accept their bad habits without trying to help them overcome them to live better. Urge them to reach a reasonable standard of performance, whether it is in how they keep house or how they perform at work.

Neither set standards too high nor too low.


*I also scheduled this blog to post in advance, too. I wrote both the tweet and the blog some time ago!

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