“The problem is that our world and our education remain focused exclusively on external, materialistic values. We are not concerned enough with our inner values. Those who grew up with this kind of education live a materialistic life and eventually the whole society becomes materialistic. But this culture is not sufficient to tackle our human problems.”
—Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama
Do you feel disconnected from your country, your neighbors and your co-workers? Do you feel as if all you do is work? That there’s no longer time to plan a future, because all your energy goes into sustaining your lifestyle —your essential needs—cable, internet, Netflix, Hulu, cell phone, XM radio subscription, car loan, mortgage, all those bills, etc?
You’re spending all your time trying “to live” by the terms defined by others whose sole purpose is to sell you their products and brands by convincing you that these purchases will bring value and fulfill your need for success (the most common sense of purpose) in your life.
These sellers, in all their forms, are inescapable in the modern world, and we willingly let them define how we choose to live. We depend upon what is sold to us to determine what value our life has at any given moment.
We incorrectly associate our material possessions with the endgame in life. We live to acquire, to purchase and to have objects for ourselves and our families.
Somewhere along the way we stopped teaching values and character as the most important life lessons. If we’re lucky, we now teach our children to be the best at a sport or to work hardest to get the highest GPA so that they will win scholarships for an expensive education.
If we’re honest, we likely stopped teaching anything other than facts altogether because we’ve lost our way, and how do you teach others to be live a purpose and value driven life when we don’t know how either?
Again, it’s not that we’re making poor choices. For this generation, this is the only life we’ve known. The challenge for each of us is to recognize who determines how you will live your life today and tomorrow?
The choice is yours—do you continue on your path of acquisitions or do you try something new?
What does it mean to build character in the 21st century?
If you’re not living a joy filled life today, what do you have to lose by trying a new approach?