Mrs. Eddy, Rev. Irving Tomlinson and Advice from Theodore Roosevelt on July 4th

.
July 4, 2017

“In the storm of misunderstandings and criticism, in the stress of ingratitude and betrayal; constantly tried as by fire; at times, all but overwhelmed by the waters of malice, envy, and hate; beset by poverty, homelessness, and loneliness, this women pressed on. Healing cases her students failed to heal, pondering and communing with her heavenly Father, she meekly broke the bread of Truth with her fellow men. In the face of opposition greater than the world had known since the advent of Christianity, she would not be swayed from her God-appointed task. In the secret recesses of her heart Mary Baker Eddy guarded the truth God had revealed to her.”

(Twelve years with Mary Baker Eddy – Rev. Irving Tomlinson, page 42)

 

* Photo – Mrs. Eddy was in frequent need of a home.  The chair and trunk were left out on the doorstep one evening when she arrived home as a thunderstorm approached.  And they didn’t even leave the light on for her as she was in the dark to the human sense.  But she went on to be one of the greatest benefactors of all time.

*

By Marc Cenedella, Founder
Ladders, Inc. is a United States-based company providing an online job search service

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.


Advice from Theodore Roosevelt on July 4th:


It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

That was Theodore Roosevelt speaking at the Sorbonne in 1910 and I run this quote every Independence Day because it inspires us.

Speaking of national heroes, I dropped by the Met, and was inspired by the new setting for the famous Washington crossing the Delaware:
 
It’s majestic.

Depicting the night of December 25, 1776, Leutze’s painting captures a desperate General Washington pushing his luck after a miserable first year in the field against the British. The lunacy of the raid — chunks of ice the size of Volkswagens clogged a turbulent Delaware River — is somewhat forgotten in the haze of later victories.


A general facing winter without victories, armies, or money, is a general facing the hangman, and Washington knew it. The codeword that night was “Victory or Death.”

Washington had to decide what he wanted to do at a moment of the lowest lows for him and his team.

 Map of where the American forces crossed


Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There’s a lot of crappy advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something enough. They just aren’t aware of what it is they want, or rather, what they want “enough.”

Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

That answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.”

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend.

On this anniversary of our struggle for independence, may you find yourself struggling with all the right things.

I’m rooting for you,

Marc Cenedella, Founder
Ladders, Inc. is a United States-based company providing an online job search service

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s