Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every New Year find you a better man or woman.”
Oh, if we could all just follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice, what a wonderful world it would be. Why must we all find fault with each other while carrying anger and hatred into the world? Why do so many of us want to see others fail so that we can succeed and why do we defend our lies as if they are truths?
Why are human beings so flawed, and why is each one of us so tragically human?
During the Christmas season the world is full of love and goodwill toward all mankind. Almost immediately after that, the New Year comes along and millions of folks make resolutions that most will never comply with. For those two days of the year we practice universal love and make conscious decisions to be better men and women.
For the rest of the year, most of us simply go back to being the people we are and have always been with the inevitable consequences…wars rage on, crime rates escalate, court room waiting lists get longer, people die in alcohol related accidents, ordinary people die from substance abuse, others die from lung cancer, strokes, heart disease and violence; obesity levels grow and we all continue our race to self-induced oblivion.
It seems that most of us cannot sustain a conscious effort to be better men and women for more than a couple of days each year.
This year, why not become a leader to everyone in your life?
Why not set the example by overcoming your vices, putting aside your anger, adopting an attitude of pure positive thoughts and actions and by making a concerted effort to be a better person?
Can you do it? Can you be the one person who will make a difference? You probably cannot change the world single-handedly, but you can make a difference in your environment and you can make improvements in your own life that others will notice.
Forget about societal, cultural, employment related, success driven, peer pressure-induced urges and just do what you know is right. Resist the vices that you know are not helping you succeed, always put on a smile for everyone you meet, reach for positive thoughts in every situation and always do your best. Most importantly, make a deliberate effort to be a better person. If you do that, you will never suffer from guilt of any kind and you will be a model for everyone you meet. In some way, large or small, you will be a leader of mankind.
Benjamin Franklin lived from 1706 to 1790 and yet he observed the same human behaviour that we all live with in 2011. Take a page out of his book and be someone who leads others to a better world.