My new book Love Your Life is moving slowly ahead. It is being impeded by my effort to get its tone just right so it will be helpful for the readers to get voluntary control over their life. The goal is to provide people with options that are likely to be helpful to them. It isn’t telling anyone what to do; it isn’t even suggesting that they do anything in particular; it is giving tips on what has helped a geriatric stay happy and healthy.
Obviously, to be healthy, it is important to live a low-stress life, or is it? I chose a low-stress career as a combat pilot in the US Air Force. That ended unfortunately for all involved because I was given the job of hauling H-bombs around. I insisted that that specific activity was a really stupid thing to do, so they kicked me out for having a bad attitude. After I relaxed by traveling around for a couple of months on a motorcycle trying to convince people that I was right about the use of H-bombs, I ended up in Berkeley, California.
There, in Berkeley, I spent fifty years mixing personally with many famous and infamous people who spent time there. I worked off and on in various capacities in and around the university, but mostly I spent my evenings on Telegraph Avenue doing my small part to make the world a more moral place. All of this was, of course, a comfortable low-stress lifestyle which would inevitably lead to a long, healthy, and happy life. As things worked out I have known fifteen people who were struck by bullets from various guns, and was present at a few shots fired. My chosen venue, the Mediterraneum Cafe (middle of the Earth), on the 2400 block of Telegraph Avenue, was the dead-center of considerable turmoil. I lived there, as in the eye of a hurricane, in the quiet calm, among infamous murderers and founders of major corporations, creators of newspapers, abductors and abductees, shooters and shootees. Some of the people who are followers of these people’s actions you will still see regularly on the news.
What I am implying with all of this is that it is possible to live a long and tranquil life in the midst of what people on the outside would call chaos. Happy, healthy, wise, and wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean leading a boring existence. Thus, with Love Your Life, I am not encouraging monotony when I present the 147 suggestions that have been derived from the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece. These are not like the Ten COMMANDMENTS, which you must do perfectly or else you will burn in Hell forevermore. In the drafts of this book, I have been using the term suggestions, but even that softer word has some of the feelings of “you better do this, or else problems will come your way.”
When I first used the word tips it felt too weak, because some of the 147 are very strong statements. After a few days of thinking tips instead of suggestions, or suggestions instead of commandments, tips began to feel right. I am not intending to stand on a high mountain and tell anyone what to do; quite the opposite, I seek only to expose people to the possibility of options that they might consider, and if that activity seems applicable to their life situation to encourage them to practice it until they become skillful at doing it automatically. The need for a trait to become habitual is that when things happen there is rarely time to think. When the moment for action is upon us we must act appropriately and immediately.
Find tips that will work in your future and practice them until you are skillful.