25 Ramadan 2012: Worth a Thought

Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. – Brian Tracy

This post was a tricky one for us, we like to call it … efficiency and effectiveness… Our thoughts in summary.

In life, there are things that:

  • we must do, we call these survival basics                                     (1)
  • we should do, we call these morality and spiritual basics               (2)
  • we like to do, we call these dreams, interests and hobbies             (3)
  • we think we must or should or like to do, we call these luxuries   (4)

So survival basics are clear: food, water, safety, and housing directly proportional to income and benefits. Morality and spiritual basics are related to manners, compassion, the permissible and non-permissible. Dreams, interests and hobbies are related to what we do with the extra time we have hoping that it adds inspiration to ourselves and others, betters our quality of life, and increases our knowledge. So now, the luxuries.

Let us first give you some definitions:

  • Life Efficiency: doing as many good things as possible with the short time given to us on earth
  • Life Effectiveness: when the benefits of actions and thoughts outweigh the costs
  • Benefits: Positive life impact, in terms of time, money and emotional well-being / inner peace
  • Costs: Effort, in terms of time, money and emotional well-being / inner peace

We called them luxuries because, in terms of both life efficiency and effectiveness, they are not aligned with the overall natural movement in life. We are talking about acute approaches in life whether it is in food, morality, spirituality, dreams, interests and hobbies. Don’t get us wrong, we are not judging them as right or wrong, we are just wondering if their benefits outweigh their costs and if they should then be avoided.

As an example, we take vegetarianism (by choice) … we have tried it before and it is NOT easy. The changes one has to make and the major accommodations that one has to succumb to just don’t add up and we found ourselves moving away from life efficiency and effectiveness. Another example would be environmental awareness and earth friendliness. Again, we recycle and we try to buy earth friendly products, but only when and if available and easily accessible. We found that otherwise, the benefits just don’t outweigh the costs (after personal analysis) especially (excuse us for saying this) opting for natural diapers for babies or walking in extreme cold or heat to work ?!?!

Unfortunately, we are not in a place to outright judge, nor do we want to, but we really must reflect on this because it seems that some, including us, focus on the luxuries and feel like we are making a difference in our lives and others’ while in reality, the world’s people (who have a right on us) are hungry, thirsty, cold and living in distress.

So the question is, are luxuries worth the effort taken away from survival, morality and interests or even helping others? And if yes, how do we know? And which of the three pillars would they fall under or would they be a separate ‘life’ pillar altogether?

We put this question out there and hope that we get an answer in these blessed days.

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