You Are A Work In Progress

by Brian Cormack Carr on March 15, 2011 · 2 comments


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How many different ways can you find to end a sentence that starts with “I am…”?

Many of us would end it with our name, our job title, or perhaps a description of how we see ourselves in the present moment, such as “…happy”, “…tired”, “…worried”, “…young”, “…energetic”, “…bored”, “…successful” “…kind”, “…a failure”.  But really, however you end the sentence, you’ll be ending it with something that is, at best, transient.

A famous quote from Herodotus‘ Histories (I. xxxii) illustrates the point. When the great Athenian lawgiver Solon visited Croesus, the fabulously wealthy king of Lydia, the latter asked Solon: who was the happiest man he had ever seen? Of course, he expected that the answer would be himself.  Solon’s reply?  “Call no man happy until he is dead.”

Morbid as that may sound, it is in fact a liberating thought.  Who knows the sum of a life, until that life is over?  The best we can hope for while we’re alive is to keep moving, and to be true to ourselves in the moment.  This is why I advise people to seek out what they love, and to live it; because how we spend our moments is how we spend our lives.

With that in mind, I’m confident in saying that no one is a failure.  No doubt we all feel that we are, at some point or another, but it’s just not possible.  The things we do may or may not work out; but what we are can never be a permanent failure, because it’s always subject to the only constant in life: change.

It’s also why I counsel against the pursuit of happiness for happiness’ sake.  Happiness is a feeling which, along with many others, will come and go like the weather.  Can you order the sun to shine?  No.  You’ll have as much hope of ordering yourself to be sunny all the time, too.  Don’t strive for happiness – strive to be more of who you are, moment by moment, and let happiness arise spontaneously when it’s time.  Perhaps the contentment that comes from expressing who you really are is the best kind of happiness to have, anyway.

Thanks for visiting! You can find more of my writing in my Amazon bestselling self-help guides How To Find Your Vital Vocation and Real Food Revival Plan both of which are available worldwide in e-book and paperback formats. Find out more here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Martin June 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Lovely post. I love your experience of happiness. Expressing who I really am is so important to me now. I have learnt to do what feels good for me instead of what the world expects of me (or rather what my mind projects as expectations from the world – but are my own expectations based on conditioning). I have found my own judgements of whether I am happy or not happy are what causes all the pain and frustration anyway. And this learning is indeed a work in progress lol! thanks for popping by my blog btw, great input.


Brian Cormack Carr July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thanks, Kelly – good to see you here. Am enjoying your blog very much.


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