The Make or Break Moments of Life

Life is an experience of relationships between people as well as the direct and indirect products of nature. A person’s mind and biology converge to determine the quality of this experience, therefore, their response. Life of a higher quality is that in which the health of the mind and body is at a maximum level over the span of that life. Several factors are involved such as one’s mind, physical health and external factors of an environmental and social nature to include availability of and interaction with a variety of resources. I believe this is the right understanding of life as people experience it or hope to experience. What prompted my contemplation of this is a book by Chris Murray by the name of, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club.

Very interesting book. This is not a book review but a comment on one particular part of the book. It concerns the first 3 chapters culminating in a choice offered to a person by the name of Simeon by his uncle, Barnabas. The choice is whether or not Simeon would follow a course of study that could lead to an extremely successful life. The book is a road map on how to succeed. Let me interrupt and say, virtue and higher ideals should always guide one’s path. The story presented in the first 3 chapters is one that is very real.

Simeon is being invited to join an exclusive group by a member of that group, his uncle Barnabas. If he accepts the invitation, Simeon would learn the right way of thinking that could make Simeon a very successful person. Success here is not mere money, but the full experience of life. Barnabas is alluding to this, but I sense that Simeon does not yet understand what Barnabas is proposing. Simeon is completely unaware of the nature of the journey he is about to undertake.

The book, as far as I can discern does not emphasize this moment of choice, its impact on the rest of a person’s life. Rather, Simeon proceeds through the story observing the lessons his uncle shares. The reader follows along to the conclusion in which the author’s perspective on the way to achieve success is expressed through these individuals.

I want to stop a moment and emphasize that point of decision because it is very important. What do we hear in the third chapter of the book? Taking the right journey, learning the real truths can be a gateway to a fuller life. It can also be a tremendous source of regret and endless dismay. To paraphrase Barnabas, it is not that you failed to take the journey, but you did so and failed anyway.

Nearly every person has a powerful instinct for opportunity. It is an instinct we have regardless of knowledge or training. We can feel that very moment in time when the next words we speak, actions we take or place we decide to be, in thought or terrain, will determine what happens with us and others.

You know that feeling when you join certain causes, participate in certain events, volunteer to do something apart from your expertise, meet a person or decide what to wear and how to spend your time. Your heart beats that certain way, you feel something in your stomach and have that sensation in your head between noxious and ultra alert. You know something is possible beyond your normal, routine efforts and experience. At the time, you may not be able to fully articulate it. Years later, you may still be unable to fathom those moments, especially if you let them slip away.

That can be a tragedy of a kind for some. Seeing where you are in life and knowing, remembering those possible turning points when the balance of time was greater and the chain of events might have followed to a more favorable present. Nothing though is guaranteed. Not even the results of good judgment, preparation and wise action. That is why regrets do not work. Since you cannot actually define an alternative fate due to the dynamism of society and nature, micro and macro, then regret is an unsound mental principle in terms of the determination to achieve and sustain the ideals of self-actualization coupled with a fuller experience of life.

Depending on what you have already experienced in life or are cognizant of as a consequence of your observations of the lives of others, you may glimpse a much deeper story in chapters 2 and 3 of Chris Murray’s book about one person’s journey. It is actually the journey and learning process of two people. Not just Simeon, but Barnabas. Simeon’s uncle may have taken the journey once, but by becoming the mentor, he is, in fact, taking the journey again, though by proxy and in a somewhat compressed and accelerated way. He will either confirm his perspective or witness its refutation in the person of Simeon.

A journey rarely falls to one person to explore. Every journey involves those we meet along the way. To an extent, we all share the same journey apart from our compartmentalized remembrance of it. What the path of discovery then becomes is the encounter with choice. Do we accept the choices we have made? would we make those choices again? What does our choices reveal about us in the full dimension of our existence?

None of these comprise the exhaustive list of questions about living. Rather, they are catalytic, residing in the subconscious occasionally making new cameos in our daily executive consciousness. Change does not happen in an instant. Only the choice does and often that instant is the only moment of time you have to make that choice. That is the “rose petal value” of some choices in how rare, fragile, and fleeting their moment of relevance and certainty may be in the realm of existence. Change is what comes after. Change is the execution in which milestones of varying duration that we call results and conclusions are based in effort. Change takes time.

As I wrote in the beginning, life is the experience of the mind and body inseparably linked to other people, nature and the products of nature. Life is a principally important thing to all that fall within the span of existence. Success, narrowly confined to money, power, possessions can be thrilling as well as corrosive. How so? You can feed the body with money, gain security with power and have well-defined relationships due to your ability to facilitate access to possessions. Following from these things and activities is the total self healthy and at a maximum level? What nourishment does these things impart to the mind and body? Not just in one day, one month, but over a lifetime.

It turns out that relationships do have to work. Virtue and altruism consistently and continuously expressed maintains good mental health. Tailoring the mind to art, philosophy, science, reason, clean language, nobility, and the conquest of the right hopes over the wrong fears is vital to building a more complete intellectual gateway to good judgment. These are starting points. It goes further when your eyes often rest upon clean lines, fresh foliage, uplifting works of order and genuine beauty. Your mind and heart are oft expanded and your connection with others is discernibly situated on the positive side of behavior and intent.

The book, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club seems to be a great work of contemplation. I haven’t finished reading it yet and this is not a book review. I did learn from my last book review, that if I am moved to keep notes or more attentive to a key insight, I may want to avoid accumulating so many pages of notes as to make later correspondence so much a chore that I may avoid disclosure altogether. Writing reviews of some length is a recent occurrence, not a reason for my literary engagement, but something I have learned to prepare for since a number of insights can be lost by the time you’ve finished reading.

The book, in chapters 2 and 3, reminds me about some of the opportunities of life in an eerily real way. Some who read it may not agree with it, most will. I think it is a good work that prompts the question, what do you think really constitutes success and what are your thoughts and actions to the same? Are your goals independently and absolutely important or can they be achieved under the most noble of perspectives? I am interested to see how the book deals with this particular question.


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