FDDS Class of 2014
Know Better – Question #1
Considering how you currently spend your time, rank the following from most important to least important: money, fame, power, contentment, personality, peace of mind, happiness. Explain how this ranking demonstrates your everyday actions. Are these actions reinforced by your loved ones? Why or why not? How do your everyday actions shape your reputation? Are you pleased with your reputation? Why or why not?
Now, thinking about the person you’d like to be in 4 years, rank the following from most important to least important: money, fame, power, contentment, personality, peace of mind, happiness. Will your everyday actions have to change? If so, how? What impact will your change in behavior have on your loved ones? How will your change in behavior shape your reputation?
This summer, I am reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
HAPPINESS | PERSONALITY | PEACE OF MIND | MONEY | POWER | FAME | CONTENTMENT
I believe each of these aspects of life are important and valuable, but instead of pursuing each one separately, you should effectively focus your energy on just one or two features. If you prioritize one, the rest will follow. As cliché as it may sound, I think the most important of thing is happiness. When you pursue what you love, you will give everything your all, and when you give everything your all, you will be successful and admired. There’s the saying: if you follow you passion, the money will follow. I’ve seen this phrase manifested a thousand times over.
Growing up, I was taught to try many things, always perform your best, and only be satisfied when you win what you work for. Practice makes progress. I find myself drawn to people who also believe in working hard and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones. Happiness comes from accomplishment, personality comes from hard work, and peace of mind comes from simplicity. If I keep my top three features in balance, money, power, and fame will come easily. It’s not that I don’t want to be famous, it’s just that I think being famous depends on being happy, not the other way around.
I recognize the impact money has had on my life, which is why I rank it higher than power and fame. I am so lucky to have a scholarship to help me through school, finances to support my photography, and savings to let me participate in summer internships. Money helps me get ish done. I’m actually indecisive whether I should put money above or below peace of mind. Power and fame are towards the end of my list because I can’t control how famous or powerful I am. Power is something that is given to you by others. But happiness is something that you give yourself.
Lastly comes contentment, because I think being settled and comfortable can be dangerous. I never want to be satisfied with what I have, I always want to be inspired to keep moving forward.
In The 48 Laws of Power, none of the lessons ever discuss happiness. The book operates on the assumption that contentment is derived from accumulating power you have, that the more power you have the better off you’ll be, and that you can never be truly happy because you always need to guard your position and manipulate others. Laws listed in the beginning of the book, like “conceal your intentions” and “court attention at all costs,” encourage us to chase fame and power while utilizing people to only your advantage. Happiness and contentment are not core values, Greene teaches, they are distractions.
While Greene’s argument does provide merit, my conflict style is very different. I operate through collaboration, not competition. I take no pleasure in manipulating people to feed an appetite for power. Greene does orchestrate a convincing argument, using famous and powerful figures like Napoleon But if I am to be remembered, I would like to be remembered for fighting for a cause, not fighting for just myself.
I was going to take some time to relate this question to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, but the book was kind of awful so I won’t go into it. Reading the book was kind of like witnessing someone going through an existential crisis. I believe Tolle is suffering from an overdeveloped sense of self-importance in reaction to prolonged feelings of insignificance and worthlessness.
I want to build my reputation on my character and accomplishments, things people can see and attest to (Law of Power #9 – Win through your actions, never through argument). Actions speak louder than words, so I try to win people using my personality and responsibility. My reputation precedes me (I can’t say how many people I’ve met who say they’ve already heard about me one way or another), so I try to live every day with purpose and find support from my loved ones.
In four years, I expect to be a stronger, smarter, and more creative person. I hope my priorities stay the same and I will still be guided by willingness to do what’s right and make myself a better person in order to better the world.