In this world of tension, very few persons learn how to lead a serene and contented life. From very infancy, all through childhood, and well into adulthood we are trained to strive, to conquer, to succeed.
In business as well as in social and cultural endeavors we desire to excel and win acclaim, and this competitive existence leads to constant tension and ultimately becomes a permanent pattern and vicious cycle.
This is the reason so few persons know how to relax or how to take life more at ease. Most persons blame their heart and blood vessel diseases on their high-strung, keyed-up existence, but are unwilling to recognise the fact that their ways of life can be altered. They are simply unwilling to make the changes necessary to alter their pattern of living. It should hardly be necessary to point out that this is an immature approach, and will not solve anything.
There is no question but that nervous tension and the difficulties of our present-day existence affect our health, but we delude ourselves when we place the blame exclusively on these factors and refuse to recognise the many other causes that contribute to our breakdown.
Because the majority of people are unwilling to concede that most of the influences responsible for their breakdowns are within their control, many of them seek to shift the blame onto factors for which they cannot be held responsible. To those persons we would like to say that a cursory examination will reveal that our life today is in reality much less difficult than it was in years past, and that this excuse is offered merely as a cloak to cover up an indifference or unwillingness to give up some of the unwholesome habits of living.
Who doesnt remember the depression years with their hopelessness and despair, with millions of people deprived of the very necessities of living, with nothing to look forward to ? Who doesnt remember the poverty and insecurity of the sweatshop era, when people were slaving fourteen to sixteen hours a day in unhygienic, unclean workshops, and then, after work, spending the remaining few hours of the day in squalid, unsanitary tenement homes ? Then, what about the war and postwar problems that took a great deal out of us?
When some of us begin talking of the good ol times and start blaming the increase in many of our chronic and degenerative diseases merely on the stress and strain of present-day existence, let us not forget the difficulties and hardships of the past.
When confronted by problems, it is actually a matter of self-preservation to sit back and reappraise them so that we may discern how best to deal with them. Have you ever heard of the richest man in the cemetery? The forty-odd-year-old executive who decides to slow down, even though this means doing less business, is perforce a wise man indeed. Life is too valuable to be squandered in the chase for a few more dollars or a little additional glory, nor should it be thrown away by indulgence in unnecessary, health-destroying habits.
Each one of us must pause and think seriously of how best to readjust our way of doing things, for no matter how close we get to our goal, whether it be in striving for wealth or in the attainment of any other possessions, if our health is sacrificed in the process our life is a failure.
The man in his prime who is suddenly forced to give up his business because of a heart attack has managed his life poorly. Even though he has amassed a fortune he has failed to make the most of life. He hasnt accomplished very much, whatever his achievements, if in attaining his objective he has brought about his premature collapse.
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