Total Recall - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Regardless of what people think of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor, politician or person, no one can deny that he has accomplished literally everything he has put his mind to. His new autobiography gives an insightful look into what makes Arnold able to achieve his goals while also showing his own insecurities and flaws.
I stumbled upon this video today from Elliott Hulse and I think the message that it provides is clear. Do what you love regardless of what others may think.
It seems that more and more advertisements are using the phrase "you deserve it" while trying to sell a product. The very word deserve seems to have a meaning that has been lost to the people of our nation. From Websters Dictionary, the meaning of deserve is "to be worthy of". Let’s look very closely at this definition and how it relates to our society. Basically a company creates a commercial that tells us that we are worthy of owning or paying for their product. The product in question is usually some tangible thing such as a new pair of shoes or maybe even a luxury automobile. I think by examining this marketing technique an alarming trend in our society is revealed and is shown to exemplify the attitudes of my generation.
In my mind being professed as being worthy by someone other than myself should be reserved to things such a recognition of service, acknowledgement of a good deed and maybe even elected into a sporting hall of fame. A member of the military who receives the Medal of Honor has performed a self sacrificing deed in the face of danger with no regard to their own safety and they deserve to be acknowledged. Buying a new video game simply because I worked forty hours this week does not equate to being deserving. True rewards are achieved by doing things that make people worthy of the honor. Simply pulling out the credit card and performing retail therapy does not mean we deserve whatever we are buying.
My point to this is that all of us, me included have stopped trying to achieve great things that are rewarding on many different levels and have replaced it with simply buying a few minutes of happiness in the form of materialism. There is nothing wrong with wanting the finer things in life; in fact we should strive for the financial stability that allows this. However, this is just one area that our goals in life should benefit. People need to also do things that they can be proud of regardless of the reward. On a spiritual or emotional level we should strive for enlightenment instead of a quick high from buying the latest "thing". This "I deserve it" attitude is just a microcosm of the current state of a culture that once prided itself on being innovators, achievers and people who could overcome adversity.
By taking an honest look at myself, I admit I have fallen into this trap. I was content for years to work a decent job in order to make enough money to have the things people say I deserve. It is as if my eyes have been opened. I realized I have done nothing of note in my three decades of life. I have not even remotely changed the world for the better, I have no legacy that will be remembered and I only have a few things that I have accomplished that I am truly proud of. Instead of having a goal to accomplish these things I have been content to fit in my little niche, making middle class money and spending it on things to make myself happy. The good thing about this introspection is I still have time to change. Thirty is young and I can still make my mark and feel worthy of something more than the sum of my possessions. I am not trying to change the world by ranting about our materialism, I simply hope a few people take a look at themselves and decide they do not like what they see and try to change for the better by striving for goals they once had.
My challenge to my readers is this, take an honest look at yourselves and decide if you are where you want to be. If you are not, cast off the content "I deserve it" attitude that our current culture bombards us with and embrace the spirit of generations past. Set goals that are beyond what society says are possible and strive for them. Find out where you want to be in life and work towards it.
I have decided that I am not sure that I truly understand the definition of the words dedication and hard work. Obviously, the meanings of those two concepts are easy to comprehend however; most people, myself included have no idea what it means to be dedicated or to work hard. What got me pondering this line of thought are my daily interactions with people who complain about the situations they are in, people like myself. I will save my thoughts about complaining for another day, but a common theme from these individuals is that they work hard and get nowhere.
The meaning of dedication as put forth by Webster's dictionary is "a self-sacrificing devotion to a cause". To me this used to mean working towards something here and there while having a goal in mind. I think most people probably feel they are dedicated to their work or their hobbies. After some thought I think most of us mistake dedication for just showing up. I have a friend who wishes to play golf professionally. This is no easy undertaking, in fact it is probably one of the hardest things to accomplish in athletics simply because you do not have to be a super tall or super large physical specimen, almost any person with any body type can play and play well. My friend used to think that practicing daily and playing here and there is dedication. In truth he was just showing up. Dedication would be devoting every spare moment possible to practice, saving money to play in events even if it meant not having that new iPhone or working a night shift to maximize the daylight hours. That would be true dedication. How many of you have a dream or goal, maybe writing a novel or learning to play the guitar? How about learning a new language or getting a college degree? I bet everyone has some kind of goal but I would bet almost no one is truly dedicated to it. The easiest way to find out how dedicated you are is to simply ask yourself "what have I sacrificed and what discomforts have I endured in pursuit of my goal?"
Hard-work is another issue altogether. It is simpler to understand than dedication but at the same time more difficult to master. Hard-work is not getting up at 6:00 a.m. to go to the gym and do your workout. It is getting up and going to the gym and pushing yourself to your limit on that day. This analogy can be applied to everything in life I believe. Maybe your job is in sales and today you are supposed to go see four of your current clients. Doing that is work for sure but hard work would be visiting your four quickly and efficiently and maybe going out a finding a new client on the same day. Everyone that I know personally who is successful in his/her field does not just work they work hard at their craft. I admittedly do not.
The purpose of this rant is not to call anyone out or for me to try to sound superior because I count myself in the group of people who are deceiving themselves about their dedication and their hard-work. I am simply trying to make more people aware of what it takes to be truly successful. As for me, now that I have had my eyes opened a bit, I am going to see if I can be dedicated and work hard to meet my own goals so one day I can look myself in the mirror and reflect on my sacrifice and hopefully enjoy what my hard work has given me.