In a society focused on the misguided principle of immediate gratification, we, as a whole, have put ourselves into a very precarious position with regard to success and ultimately, survival. Every day millions of people wake up with what they think are plans, or even strategies for how they will make it big within the next twenty-four hours. Whether by day trading in the stock market or winning the lottery, and a variety of endeavors in between, they set out to accomplish the nearly impossible. This attitude has becoming frighteningly commonplace. Where exactly did pride in our actions fall to the wayside? When did striking it rich become more important than ensuring not only the productivity, but the very survival of the human race?
There are any number of organizations, companies, etc that spend millions, if not billions of dollars studying the habits of all living things. For now, let’s focus on the humans. There are surveys and statistics analyzing everything from the sexual habits of pre-adolescents to the scent preferences of the stay-at-home mom (tell me why this one is important) with who knows what else. The bigger the survey the better. For who? It has occurred to me that the problem with our society is that everyone wants to know why we do the things we do. Is it really that important?
Studies on obesity are an excellent example of what is lacking in our society. A Missouri news article recently reported that 32% of its students in grades 6 -8 are overweight or at risk and 27% of high school students are overweight or at risk. In a world where fast food restaurants are more frequent than churches or schools, we see the problem but do little to find a successful resolution.
When did we stop encouraging our children to exercise and eat carefully? When did it become more important to get a quick meal than a nutritionally sound one? With the rise in single parent families struggling to maintain financial security, I believe the media has played a crucial role in advocating the convenience of a “fast meal,” thereby saving one parent time and energy in preparation of a balanced meal. How does this affect our society? Unfortunately, it teaches children that convenience trumps health and well-being. It also eliminates, or at best, dramatically decreases, the time families spend together sharing and bonding. It is unfair to blame the fast food industry for the decline in healthy and well-adjusted families, but it is easy to see how convenience can sway the average person into a trap that cannot only be counterproductive to success, but also potentially and literally deadly.
The same can be said about financial success. The average person in Pennsylvania will spend $7.00 on lottery tickets 3 times per week. At $84.00 per month, this is $1008.00 per year. Statistics show that a majority of lottery players are from lower income classes who struggle with decreasing financial security. It is my personal thought that if efforts were made on the part of educators and employers to increase the benefits and opportunities for students and employees, we could actually refocus the attention of people to strive for personal success, as opposed to a quick fix. Am I saying there is anything wrong with the lottery? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the attitude of our society has dramatically digressed from personal or professional success.
What can we do to improve the overall stability and potential for success? This is literally a life or death question. Organizations and individuals can work together to shift the focus of the average person away from immediate success and strive to rebuild the confidence levels and self-esteem of each member of the human race. By focusing our attention as people on the positive aspects of life, instead of demoralizing the efforts of those who do find success, by whatever means, we can develop a productively more sound future for our race in general.
Take as many moments as you can to recognize those people who need guidance and offer them the encouragement to find pride and value in themselves. Make constant efforts to direct our children down smarter, healthier, and more positive paths. This alone can ensure the peaceful and productive success of the future.
Carefully consider each action you take in your life and determine if it is in the best interest of your life, or just the moment. Financial success is crucial to the survival of each of us, and in order to achieve this success, each person must be willing to carefully gauge the cost of their efforts and ensure that those actions are not at the expense of others.
Attitude is the key to the potential success of every individual’s efforts. Without a positive attitude, we run the risk of constant conflict and the destruction of our way of life. Attitude is the element that determines success, health, productivity, and destruction. Without positive personal nurturing the crime rates will continue to rise, the levels of intelligence will continue to decline, and the number of unnecessary deaths will remain the main topic of water cooler conversation.
Take a moment today, and every day, to nurture those around you. Don’t be afraid to help someone who truly needs it. More than anything take pride in everything you do that is in the best interest spreading a positive attitude.
Originally published 2007
© Karen L. Syed