In Chapter 15, Who Has the Helm, the main character learns about the childish tactics that persist into adulthood and sometimes take control of our actions. His wife also shares the counterintuitive response that takes away their power over us.
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I have never heard in a funeral that this person made a lot of money or is politically very strong. They never discuss that. In a funeral, people discuss how this person was kind or gracious or had character and integrity. … I learned from the funerals that we must plan our funerals when we are young. Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.
I desire to leave this world as I entered it — barefoot and broke. To many, that may seem like an odd, unrealistic, even foolish thing. Not to me. Too many wealthy people hoard their riches, believing that dying with a large bank account is a virtue. I read about one woman who died and left her dog $10 million. What’s a dog going to do with that kind of money? Help other dogs? I see it another way: If I die with nothing because I have given it away, humanity is the beneficiary.
People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
I just noticed an interesting feature of the Amazon Kindle software. It can display passages most often highlighted by other Kindle users. Here are some quotes favored by readers of my first book.
Our desire to belong is a life and death concern. It’s not a weakness or personal failure.
I realized that everything I wanted in life required the actions of other people.
Shame is being pushed out, excluded, and rejected by others. Avoiding shame is a universal human priority. It always has been.
Shame is so frightening, belonging so vital, it seems that we are continually confronted with this dichotomy of choice. We must either risk being emotionally vulnerable and open to attack and rejection, or we cover up, we fake, we pretend, we stifle ourselves.
We go along to get along.
Vulnerability is choosing my actions with the knowledge that other people participate in my life.
You can’t hide when you need other people. Pulling away from pain or risk, or responsibility, just leaves us alone and incomplete; fitting in but missing out.
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” (quoting Brené Brown)
Courage is being true to your heart, your core. Bravery is a cover-up, hiding your true self so that people might respond to the way you’d like to have them think you are.
Scientific evidence and personal experience tell us that sincere, engaging personal relationships are essential for health and happiness. Yet, little is said about how we might actively nurture such relationships for ourselves and for people near us at home and work.
This short book offers specific advice and motivation to open up, reach out, and connect with all of our community members.
In the United States a man builds a house to spend his latter years in it, and he sells it before the roof is on: he plants a garden, and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing: he brings a field into tillage, and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession, and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves, to carry his changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days’ vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days, to shake off his happiness. Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which is forever on the wing.
—Democracy in America, Volume 2 by Alexis de Tocqueville Chapter XIII: Causes Of The Restless Spirit Of Americans In The Midst Of Their Prosperity