What governs your life?
It seems for many that comfort and convenience are what’s most important. In fact, this is so prevalent that unofficially I’m calling it an epidemic.
People throw logic and good sense out the window in their pursuit of what makes them feel good right now.
I don’t have any problem with some comfort and convenience, but oughtn’t it be balanced with some long-term thinking?
The Appropriateness of This Discussion Today
God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.
~ Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We really owe a lot to the veterans of this great war for the prosperity we enjoy today in America.
Whatever happened to the duty, commitment, sacrifice and service these veterans displayed both during and after the war? It seems these traits have all become bad words with negative connotations.
Our grandparents believed they were worth fighting and dying for, but we seem to have lost our grasp on them. Instead, comfort and convenience seem to rule our lives.
The Evidence That Comfort and Convenience Rule
Just so we are on the same page, please let me point out some evidence that comfort and convenience rule our lives. The hold they have on us is pretty amazing!
- The United States is a very urbanized nation, with 81% of the population residing in cities and suburbs as of mid-2005 — in contrast, the worldwide urban rate was only 49% (Source: Wikipedia)
- Average credit card debt per household in America was $8,329 at the end of 2008. (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009)
- The U.S. accounts for almost two-thirds of the total spent on fast food worldwide. We bought $148.6 billion worth of convenience food in 2004 while second-place Japan spent only $13.9 billion. (Source: Top Fast Food Countries)
We huddle in cities to be close to all the goods and services that make our lives easy. We borrow money by simply whipping out a piece of plastic so we can buy the luxury items we can’t afford. We gorge ourselves on fast food making us the most obese country in the world!
These statistics elude to the problem I’m addressing. However, I think some specific examples are in order to really make this clear.
How Comfort and Convenience Rob Us of The Good Life
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I think our obsession with comfort and convenience is killing us and robbing us of the best that life has to offer. We are tossing away true success so we can feel good for a moment.
We are a throw-away society. For example, despite our vow to love, honor and cherish until death do us part, 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Why? Irreconcilable differences. In other words, it isn’t comfortable and convenient to remain committed anymore. Divorce robs us and our children of family. It seems to offer relief, but in reality it spreads out the pain for years to come in the lives of many.
Let me give you another example. We are always looking for the easy way out. When we run up a bunch of debt, we want to declare bankruptcy and start over. We want to shirk our obligation to pay back what we owe. Unfortunately, many families that declare bankruptcy don’t change their spending habits and wind up in a financial mess again a few short years later. This cycle continues and is often passed on to future generations.
Self-discipline and accountability aren’t things most of us want to exercise, but it is what we need in order to live life to its fullest. I am convinced that there are no shortcuts. Do we still have the mettle that our grandparents did in the face of overwhelming obstacles?
Those that continue to make comfort and convenience the main aim of their life will end up regretting all the time they’ve wasted. They will end up alone, penniless and wondering, “Why me?”
The Antidotes to This Epidemic
I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
~ Pablo Casals
I’d like to shine a new light on these words we don’t seem to like much anymore. However, they aren’t just words. They are actions that demonstrate that you really care and as the quote above points out — caring for others is where we find true significance in life.
Here are the antidotes to the epidemic of comfort and convenience:
Duty is something we are required to do by moral or legal obligation. For example, it is our duty, particularly once we have children, to stay married and raise our kids in a good home with a mother and a father. It is our duty to pay back the loans we take out to buy the things we want. It is our duty as citizens to participate in our government and follow its laws.
It isn’t always comfortable or convenient, but following through with your obligations is the only way to get the most out of life. Be an adult and do your duty!
At times, when you really care for others, you have to give up some things that you want so your loved ones can have what they want or need. You might need to exercise delayed gratification or you might need to simply let it go. Either way, you are making a sacrifice. Our society seems to have totally forgotten what it means to make a sacrifice now for a bigger gain later.
Making a sacrifice goes against our nature in most circumstances. However, it is well worth the investment. The payoff is always much sweeter when you sacrifice a little now to reap greater rewards later.
Service is doing something unselfishly for someone else when you don’t have to do it. A stay-at-home-mom is a great example of service and sacrifice. She serves the needs of her children even when it is not comfortable or convenient. She serves them even though they often don’t appreciate it. She serves them even when it doesn’t appear she is making a difference.
Service is another way to express how much you care for someone or something. It requires you to step outside yourself and put others first. Give service a try and learn its rewards.
Fortitude is having the mental and emotional strength to face difficult, dangerous and adverse circumstances courageously. It is persisting in an effort even when the going gets very tough. It takes fortitude to pay off debt, win wars, raise kids and succeed at marriage. Fortitude is a necessary ingredient for living life to the fullest.
The perseverance expressed through fortitude is what built this country and made it great. Our way of life was fought for on the battlefield and at home by people with amazing fortitude. We need to tap into this well again to experience the best life possible.
Comfort and Convenience Are Not The Best Things in Life
Comfort and convenience are not all they are cracked up to be! They become masters that lead you down paths that promise riches, but fail to deliver. Look around you right now. Are you a slave to comfort and convenience? Do you need to embrace duty, sacrifice, service and fortitude?
Making a difference in the lives of those around you and abroad will add a much needed dimension to your life that will create significance and meaning. This is the real road to living life to the fullest!
Are you a slave to comfort and convenience?
Photo by cliff1066™