Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Once I reached age 80 and realized that my time was running out, I started to look back over my life and take stock of what I had done. So much of my life was about work. At the time it seemed like it was my life! I started delivering newspapers when I was 12.  I clerked in a grocery store and started half a dozen businesses before graduating from high school.

Part of the Solution

part of the solution
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

There are many ways to evaluate a human life, and the question at the top of this page is just one way, but Darwin 

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplashtook the view that any species survives only if it’s members can adapt and solve the problems of a changing environment. And so I ask again, “Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?”

Our society puts great value on work, for if we were like the rest of the animals and spent the day foraging and playing where would we be today? As an Engineer/Entrepreneur  I certainly solved more problems than I created, but looking back, I now realize that society could have survived with fewer solutions, and I would have had a better life with more playtime. I don’t get to do it over, but I can be an example to today’s young and perhaps they can learn from my example and lead a more balanced life. It should NOT be all about work!

Whatever Makes Us Feel Good

binge-watching TV

(c) Can Stock Photo / focalpoint

We tend to repeat whatever makes us feel good. That often leads us down the wrong path, like drugs and alcohol. Looking back, I can’t help wondering, what if I had never owned a TV?  How many thousands of hours could have been applied to creating art, writing, or anything of lasting value to others? Did I extract enough value from my TV time to make it worthwhile sacrificing all that time? While I needed a change from work to recharge my batteries, it could have been a different productive activity, not a mind-numbing vegetative state in front of a TV. 

My partner Irene is 85 yet she spends much of her day producing the self-improvement blog that helps thousands of people become better people and collectively helps society evolve into a better species. Part of everyone’s time should be spent creating. Whether it’s art, knitting, writing or anything original. We need to develop additional skills and eventually, these can become a second income stream that will make us feel more productive and provide additional security, for as many are learning now, your primary income can be cut off with no notice. A productive hobby can be good therapy and a second source of income at the same time.

Creativity

little things
Jack Harwick, Photographer

Even arranging a few pebbles in an interesting pattern takes some creativity and for most animals that is about as far as it goes, Humans have taken the ability to create that which never was to the Moon, Mars, and outer space. What have you created lately? Take the time to stretch and grow, with creativity as your yardstick. I have spent seventy years studying photography and it has taught me to see beauty where others do not. Inaddition, have visited wonderful places that I never would have seen if it not been for my interest in photography. I can not paint or write music, but photography helps me to see, capture, and enhance the many wonders of the planet. I recently found videos by Louis Schwartzberg that I find represent amazing creativity. Here is one of my favorites:

Try lots of different ways to express your personal creativity until you find what fits you.  The world needs it all. If you do have a part to play, even if you have yet to find it. Don’t worry if what seems comfortable to you is not mainstream. There is a place for nearly all creativity. But stylized serial killers will be dealt with very harshly, so let’s be reasonable.

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