What Matters to Me
I like dealing with people who are proactive rather than reactive; people who guide their world rather than get pushed around; people who are a force for change rather than sitting back and watching.
What matters to me is that people should think and not simply believe. Belief requires faith, which disregards evidence. Without evidence, there is no proof, and without proof, there is no fact. I separate fact from truth quite simply: people once believed that the earth is flat, and held that as truth. Once sufficient evidence began accumulating to provide proof that earth is round (actually, it’s an oblate sphere), people had no reason to believe it was flat. Fact doesn’t require belief; it is self-evident.
That search for fact leads to my next point: people must possess and promote a desire for lifelong learning. A day has been wasted if spent without acquiring a new idea, a new piece of information or a new skill. There is too much we haven’t discovered for us to be satisfied with what we already know. If mankind hadn’t sought to learn (consciously or unconsciously) , we’d still be “hunter-gathering” our way through life, living in groups of 20-30 individuals, dying young of mysterious causes and existing as potential victims of predators and whatever weather system blew over us.
Following naturally from that is knowing your family’s history. In a world that is increasingly capable of greater and more impressive technology, I still think it’s important to know about your family and your origins. As has been famously said, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?
That’s not to say you should spend all of your time with your family. Some of my most productive and satisfying moments have come from times when I’ve been doing things which I enjoy for myself. From time to time, I immerse myself in obscure sports statistics and histories; my wife doesn’t always understand it, but she doesn’t have to, and I don’t understand some of the things she likes to do for herself. None of it is harmful or breaks any laws, nor do we have to explain any of it to anyone. As long as we don’t offend anyone, what we do for ourselves relieves stress and lets us get on with our productive, industrious lives.
Of course, that’s not to say we shouldn’t care about nor do things for other people. To the contrary; time spent doing things for others is the noblest and least selfish way to live. It doesn’t take much, either; five percent of your time works out to about an hour and a quarter each day during which you can volunteer at a seniors’ home, do yardwork for a neighbour, join a service club, coach a junior sports team; the possibilities are almost endless.
If you want to have a life worth living, get involved and do things that matter. Do things without expectation of reward or compensation. Do things because they should be done. Then be satisfied with taking care of people who needed your time and attention — including yourself and your family.