“Life is not competition with others. In its truest sense it is rivalry with ourselves. We should each day seek to break the record of our yesterday. We should seek each day to live stronger, better, truer lives; each day to master some weakness of yesterday; each day to repair past follies; each day to surpass ourselves. And this is but progress. And to individual, conscious progress, progress unending and unlimited, is the one great thing that differentiates man from all the other animals. Then we will care naught for the pretty, useless decorations of society’s approval on the scabbard. For us it will be enough to know that the blade of our purpose is kept ever keen and sharp for the defense of right and truth, never to wrong the rights of others, but ever to right the wrongs of ourselves and those around us.” ~ William George Jordan
Proving others to be wrong and yourself to be right in the eyes of others is a wild-goose chase. More important than either of these tactics (which incidentally have consumed more energy than just about any other human activity) is the matter of living each day in a way that you become stronger, not because of your force of will, but due to your relationship with the truth.
When you take this “as above, so below; as within, so without” approach in your life, engaging with the world from the inside out, you no longer find it necessary to compete with others or to seek approbation because you discover that your value and your position are absolute. Most people see their value as being relative, which is the root cause of the roller coaster experience of life that they then suffer through.
Stop competing with others and for the attention of others. Look instead to focus your energies on giving your highest and finest in everything you undertake. This is the sure path to the experience of eternal progress.
6 thoughts on “Intrinsic Value II”
Thank you for stating this so clearly. There is an inner identity that all of us have, and that is what matters; that is where the progress needs to be made. There are all sorts of misrepresentations and mis-identifications in people’s interrelationships. The truth is, you are the only person who knows exactly why you are doing something (and I think that many times, people themselves don’t even know why they do things). So I think the first step is to identify why you are doing something, and the second step is to make sure that reason is taking you down the path of honing the edge of your inner blade, as Jordan puts it. Improvement on the inside and competition with yourself, to make yourself more capable, should be a primary aim of life.
Yes, life does not compete with itself as truth does not conflict with itself. You’ve only to compete with yourself I gather, to keep progressing as a human being in the areas where progress for you is needed. It takes alot of character for this to be the case, but it is part of what brings purpose in life and therein lies the big reasons for one’s life to have lasting meaning.
The approach to living you outlined; “as above, so below; as within, so without” is the way to lead an authentic life. Many want to live life on their own terms but the real terms are revealed as we take our cue from above and within. There’s our compass. Wonderful post thank you.
Sometimes I think we devalue our importance or our ability to contribute to avoid responsibility. If we take the attitude we don’t count then we don’t have to. Even if It’s not a conscious position it becomes our default. Thanks for the post.
I often remind my kids of that the definition of humility is that we don’t compare ourselves with others but rather are concerned to be the best that we ourselves can be. This is a great post to illustrate the spirit of humility.
You have been reading my mind! Thanks.