May 17


Today's Quotation:

You cannot build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his or her own improvement, and at the same time show a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.

Marie Curie

Today's Meditation:

It sometimes seems a bit cruel that improving ourselves should be considered as "work."  But when you define work as anything that takes effort to reach a desired end, then self-improvement definitely fits in there.  And we all know from our jobs that if we don't do the work necessary, our jobs just don't get done.  It's the same way with working on ourselves--if we don't put forth any effort to improve ourselves, we simply won't improve.  Our knowledge, our skills, our talents, our unique abilities--all will stay at their same levels basically forever until we decide to work to improve them.

The work doesn't have to be difficult or unpleasant, of course.  There are plenty of good books to read to improve our knowledge, and there are many programs we can watch and classes we can take to improve our skills and talents.  And we can practice, while not being too hard on ourselves if we don't improve as quickly as we might think we should.

It's important that we see, though, that our improvement in just about anything will make us much more able to help others, much more able to be useful to someone else who may need our help in a way that only we can give it.  A mediocre softball player, for example, really can't help another mediocre softball player to improve.  The softball player who has worked hard to become a very good one can help almost anyone improve.

The world will not improve until we improve ourselves.  Our improvement doesn't have to be an obsession, and it doesn't have to be our only goal in life, but it sure is an honorable and respectful goal, isn't it?

Questions to ponder:

1.  In what ways could you improve yourself without turning your world upside-down with the effort?

2.  How could your improvement help others?

3.  What are some of the easier ways that you could improve different aspects of who you are and what you're able to do?

For further thought:

Many people do not know that they can strengthen or diminish the life around them.  The way we live day to day simply may not reflect back to us our power to influence life or the web of relationships that connects us.  Life responds to us anyway.  We all have the power to affect others.  We may affect those we know and those we do not even know at all. . . . Without our knowing, we may influence the lives of others in very simple ways.

Rachel Naomi Remen



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