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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Victim of Oneself

Tonight I was listening to Moody radio and heard a taped interview with John Wooden.  The interview was taped several years ago when Coach Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was already in his 90’s.  Even at this age, he retained all his mental acuity.  After listening to the interview, I googled for some of his quotes.  The one that most drew my attention was: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming” (Click for additional quotes.)  It seems that fundamental to happiness is the confident belief that “you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”  Likewise, much unhappiness and regret derives from the feeling that in this one life granted to us we did not rise up to make the effort to do our best.  Of course, doers are not uniformly perfect.  Another Wooden quote found at the same site: “If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.”  It is not mistakes or even failure that bring the deepest gloom, but the feeling that we did not do our best—we neglected to make the earnest attempt in the first place.  I’ve heard it said that people can go through life and never finish anything.  They start out at something maybe several times, say a course of study, but just lack the grit to finish.  The resulting depression and self-loathing, again not primarily from failure itself but from the absence of self-directed sustained effort, is surely the base of many addictions.  The pain of self-inflicted loss—when one is primarily a victim of oneself—is too great to face.

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