Lies That Our Culture Tells Us
By Sandy Schroeder
David Brooks has been writing for the New York Times since 2002. In all of that time I believe he has never hesitated to tackle the hard subjects, or say what he really believes.
Today's message is no different as he focuses on the lies our culture tells us. He does not mince words or hide behind platitudes. He simply says what he sees so we can see it too.
The Second Mountain
Here are some of his thoughts from his new book, The Second Mountain, and where we are right now with the lies that we may believe.
First lie - Career success is the ultimate reward. If you have followed a path that is successful, you know there are highs and lows. When you struggle and struggle and finally succeed, it may feel good, but sometimes hollow too. Obviously, success is not bad. Being rewarded for doing something that you love to do is good. So is successful work that helps others, but making it the be-all and end-all reward can be a mistake. In the process, family and friends may be ignored, or personal health compromised. Expecting benefits from all facets of life is a much wiser choice. If career is all, you will torpedo any chance for peace, and always be looking for the next success.
Second lie - We can make ourselves happy -- if we just master that new fitness routine, lose 10 pounds, or start a new sport, we will be happy. Brooks says people who look back at the end of their lives often say the relationships that they have maintained are really what it is all about. To connect with others, share real depths, and accept and provide care actually make us happy. When we see a child's eyes light up, or feel the warmth of their hug, we know what happiness really is.
Third lie - We are encouraged to believe that we should stay free and roam far. Keep moving and stay loose for the next opportunity. Actually, the places that attract us, the people who need us, and the situations that demand our best are the ingredients for lasting satisfaction. Putting down roots and making a difference counts.
Fourth lie - Create your own moral compass! Really? Most of us absorb our values and beliefs from the people, institutions and communities around us. If we are fortunate, they serve us well.
If you agree with Brooks, you may want to read more from his book. I think I will. I may also make a list of more lies that I think our culture encourages us to adopt.
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