One of the congressmen opposing TR’s efforts to preserve forests for future generations had this to say: "What has posterity ever done for me?"
In the TR biography, he’s just getting started as President and has audaciously decided to go head to head with the most powerful and richest men in the country — the owners of the railroad monopolies. In making big decisions TR said “I always would think first, ‘What would my father have done?’” This is very inspiring raising up a boy of my own.
I also love how TR was not intimidated by anyone. His life was threatened by crazy white southerners for hosting black men like Booker T. Washington to dinner but he of course kept doing it.
I try to be selective with the blogs in my RSS feeder. Here are two excellent posts from the past few days. The first is on how men should pursue maturity in creation rather than consumption (boys are consumers) and the second provides some great paradigm-shifts for living well in the 21st century.
And here’s a good excerpt from the first:
But it is boys that live only for themselves; men fully enjoy life’s pleasure but also live for a higher purpose. Boys try to find themselves in what they buy; men find themselves in what they do. Boys base their identity on what they consume; men base their identity on what they create.
The failure of men to transition from being shoppers and consumers to producers and creators has four profound implications for the vibrancy of manliness…
When the little man was just a few hours old it struck me that he looked very similar to Val Kilmer (in his slim, Top Gun years). And a few friends still call our nino “Iceman” from time to time. Now, however, our boy has ballooned out to proportions just like the middle aged Val.
Classic Iceman line: “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”
"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual."
From his speech The Strenuous Life, Chicago, April, 1899
The “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack is excellent and British-born female rapper/singer MIA sums it up well in one of her songs: “I’ve got more records than the KGB.”
TR’s wife Edith commented that men in her era decidedly had the advantage in many ways. While “women can be, men can do.”
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” - Socrates
Minimalism makes a lot of sense and I’ve been reading several blogs about it–minimalism as a lifestyle, mindset and aesthetic style too. There’s a powerful correlation between not wanting more things and thereby appreciating what you already have in life. Here’s an excerpt on contentment and entertainment, minimalist-style:
I believe if you find contentment, you don’t need entertainment. That’s not to say you’d never watch TV or good films or go to parties or theme parks … but you wouldn’t need them for entertainment. You wouldn’t go shopping to fill an empty space in your life, to fill the need of finding happiness, because you’re already content and don’t have that empty space or need.
Finding contentment is learning to appreciate what you already have, learning the concept of having enough, learning to enjoy the simple things. It isn’t an overnight thing, but as you become more conscious of it, you’ll find more contentment and need to be entertained less.
So the question remains: what do I do for fun?
I’ve made space for what’s most important to me, by eliminating the unnecessary. That’s what minimalism is really about, at its core, not emptying your life.
What’s important to me: family, writing, reading, running. And so my fun is finding time for those four things.
“Memories…are like smoke, changing, ephemeral, and if they’re not written down they fade into oblivion.” – Isabel Allende