Coach John Wooden describes in this TED Talk, in very clear and beautiful words, what it means to be successful. He argues, like I have been doing some time now, that success is not related to wealth or power, but rather “peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort of doing the best of which you’re capable” (John Wooden).
I strongly believe that in the end, the only person in front of whom you have to define and justify your level of success is yourself. If you manage to live up to your expectations of yourself, the ones that you know that you’re capable of achieving, even if these achievements might be insignificant to others, then you are successful. You, as a person, should know best who you are and what your goal is in life. Once you do, you have a duty to yourself to follow this through. And while some roads can be to far to go, the fact that you stick to it means that you are persevering in becoming the best you. And isn’t that the most you can hope for?
Being entirely dedicated to doing your best and being the best “you” possible is already 99% of the battle won.
I simply need to mention the name of Christopher Hitchens, and people immediately know what topic I’m referring to. It is, of course, the topic of religion, its power and its influence. But most importantly, the following controversial discussions highlight the eternal search for the self in terms of how we define our lives and the world that surrounds us.
[Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry – Blasphemy – 2006]
[Christopher Hitchens – Divine Impulses – 2010]
The following clips are aimed a bit more at discussions related to various specific religions.
[Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry – Intelligence Squared Debate – 2009]
[Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair – God Debate]
[Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe – The Great God Debate]
[Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan Debate – Is Islam a Religion of Peace? – 2010]
I initially didn’t plan to include this video because it is not so much focused on the topic of religion as it is on the various cruel governments from around the world. However, the content and the emotion behind Christopher’s words convinced me that this needs to be in this post:
This clip that I’ve found recently online shows friends of Christopher Hitchens expressing their admiration for his life and work. Considering the names that appear in this list of friends, this is a must-watch:
[Stephen Fry & friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens – IQ2 talks]
This article captures exactly my views about happiness. The idea is simple: you can’t simply seek happiness. Happiness should be the result of your being, your thoughts, your actions. You can only define yourself, improve yourself, and as such be happy when you see results.
“Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”
If your goal is purely happiness, you might be able to find it in some way, but only for a brief period of time. Truly happy people are defined by their being, their purpose, their decisions. Don’t simply say “I want to be happy”. Try and focus on “I want to be better, I want to be more, I want to have a purpose” and you’ll see how happiness will also be around the corner.
“Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”
And was she actually a saint? Well, here are a couple of aspects of her life that I didn’t know about, and that seem to actually be well founded.
Most painful to me is the topic that is emphasized in the second part (2 of 3) of this last clip: abortion and contraception. While I can see why the topic of abortion is clearly complex, involving many different arguments, I always had a hard time to accept the views of the church on contraception. So, when I heard Mother Teresa’s words when she spoke in Ireland about abortion and contraception, I was again shocked. I couldn’t help but think of the recent case of a women dying in Ireland from complications due to her pregnancy. The bad part is that she could have been saved if the doctors would have accepted to do an abortion. They didn’t. They didn’t because of fear, because of the law, because of religious views. And it’s not like the baby survived either, so…
I’m not sure how to conclude… topics like this bring out a more thoughtful side of me. Still, let me try to snap out of it. It seems Mother Teresa might not have been a saint after all. And much more importantly, I can’t wait for the day when the church will change its policy about abortion, but especially contraception and the women’s empowerment.
“Split-screen short animation that describe the beginning of time from a creationist and evolutionist perspective. An ironic take on the subject, Duelity tells the creationist’s version of the beginning of the universe using the language of science and presents the scientific cosmology of evolutionists using Biblical lingo.” – from Vimeo
I love how the animations present the two perspectives by visually displaying the same core information, but with different drawing techniques and focusing on different aspects.
A serious WOW on my side. So the only two countries in Europe, with a level of belief in God of over 90% is Romania and Turkey.
This is kinda scary, especially if you log onto most Romanian forums. If the topic is anything like politics or economy, every second post involves God in one way or the other. I’m sorry, but my opinion is – believing is great, acting positively is better!
By the way… this gives a new meaning to the phrase “more religious than the Pope”.