Are You Paying Attention

04/17/2015 03:58 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2015
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"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." . Benjamin Franklin (American Statesman 1706-1790)
A question only you can answer and it is one often asked. Are you a loyal or a judgmental person? How to be loyal everyone can answer in his own way. A judgmental person often covers it by a pretense to be knowledgeable or knowing better. We are not thinking of loyalty when we think about family, those we take for granted. This special deep connection of loyalty between people is a searching one. How do we find it? We live in a time when the word loyalty is almost a forgotten one, considered old-fashioned. Quick answers are the mantra of today... loyalty has fallen out of favor. It is not always convenient, for false loyalty can represent misuse or pretense. Loyalty can bring about blind sighted behavior or adoration for not seeing evil in others. We don't think of people being evil, yet we have many evil examples throughout history. Of course we should also question power...and then think of the question about loyalty.

In this country we elect a new leader every four years at a huge cost. We develop a loyal feeling for him or her. We learn to trust their judgment, their leadership. Or do we? Often we are deeply disappointed, even pained if this loyalty is misplaced or even misused. Do the people we elect have character?

David Brooks, the highly regarded columnist of New York Times writes in his new book: The Road to Character about many people who have been leaders at different times in different endeavors and achieved excellence. All of whom he respects, and admires. In this book David focuses on deeper values that should guide our lives. Responding to the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, he challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our 'resume virtue', achieving wealth, fame, and status...and our 'eulogy virtues', our core of being, kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness. He writes about some of the world's greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders and explores how, through internal struggle and deep despair, at times a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. He provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth. "Joy", David Brooks writes," is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes."

Every day we are tempted to forget what we set out to be or do. It is good to set some goals: Do not surrender to group-think. Do today what you can. Do not procrastinate. Don't believe everything you hear or read. Take courage to accomplish what you believe in. Distinguish between things you can or cannot put off. Train daily to reach your goal. Be inspired by people, by events, by books. Read for this is a gift to yourself. Be a loyal friend even if at times it is unpleasant.

We are fortunate for we can choose loyalty and inner values and have the freedom to do so. So, yes, it helps to read books like the one David Brooks wrote, for it shows the road of many famous people which was not an easy one. It often was a road of struggle and sometimes a humiliating process to reach the best they could be. Life is learning and that is always!
"Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago." . . Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German Author 1749-1832)