Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Are You a Master or Slave of Your Life?

When we are born, as we are helpless babies, we don't have a choice but to be slaves to our biological processes, such as emotions and feeding needs. As we grow, we start to make choices and explore the world with guidance from our parents/others, so our choices are highly influenced by them. In another words, we are slaves to our biological needs and other people.

Before we start, let's define master and slave so we are on the same page:
  • A slave is someone that does what is being told, either explicitly or implicitly/indirectly. His/her choices and actions are either completely out of his/her control, or partially due to being heavily influenced by others. His/her world is confined by artificial limits imposed by others or his/her surroundings. He/she is afraid or have no desire to live life to the fullest as death scares him/her. In short, slave is someone that does the wrong things.
  • A master is someone that does the right things, even if not desired by oneself, by making choices based on all the facts while considering opinions of others, including his/her own emotional/mental/physical states. His/her world is unbounded where anything is possible. He/she lives life to the fullest with passion, not fear.
Based on definition, it's easy to pick which one that you want to be, but the tricky part is, are you?

Let's examine some examples. Some are controversial, theoretical, or a bit out there, but you should not have a problem if you are really a master:
  • A long time ago, people believed the world is flat. While many of them are pretty smart, but believing in something that can't be proved is not the right thing to do, and therefore all those people were slaves by definition. So smart isn't excluded from being a slave. 
  • Today, many people still believe in God or some form of religion blindly. Again, believing in something that can not be proven is not the right thing to do. I don't want to go into this topic too much as it is controversial, but if you are curious about my view, I would say it's similar to Albert Einstein, an agnostic -- if we can't prove or disprove something, then we simply don't know and that's ok and the right thing to do. I will also add that most religions do have guidelines that help people "do the right things," and therefore I do like them for those reasons. 
  • Are you naturally sad/angry (negative) or happy/cheerful (positive), or easily one way or the other based on certain inputs? Based on your emotions, do you act a certain way that you normally wouldn't? Yep, you are a slave to your emotions -- including myself, so you are not alone. 
  • Do you feel the desire to have kids and not sure where it came from? Yep, you are a slave to your biological hormones to reproduce. Too late for me, but don't regret it -- love my kids...most of the time.
  • Want to make lots of money to buy nice/fancy things? Working extra hours to get promotion/raises/fancy title? Yep, you are a slave to material & prestige possession.
  • Drink or smoke just cuz others are doing it? Yep, you are a slave to peer pressure.
  • Can't move your eyes away from the latest TV show / movie? Yep, you are a slave to passive entertainment. 
  • And the list goes on.
So do you still think that you are a master that has full control of yourself? We still haven't even talked about being a master of this world and the universe yet.

This world has certain properties, such as gravity, how fast our space ships currently travel, or how plants and we need certain food to grow properly in certain places or conditions, and people die naturally or due to various causes. Those are generally known as facts. Do you believe those things can be changed?
  • If no, then your world and mindset is limited within the boundary of a slave.
  • If yes, congrats, then you have a mindset of a master of this world. As we are still learning about the world, we need to recognize the difference between current facts and indefinite facts. Until we have a 100% understanding of everything, which is fairly hard to achieve but not impossible, not all facts are indefinitely true. A master's mindset believes in the impossible and there is no such thing as impossible until proven -- even then, he/she is still open to be proven wrong.
Are you only concerned about things happening around you, like your family or your country or even just Earth? That is a limited mindset as Earth is essentially nothing when compared to the universe. There is so much to explore outside of Earth. It saddens me that most people, with the gift of intelligence, are simply content with living an ephemeral life of having a good education, beautiful spouse / kids, bountiful food, nice houses / cars, enjoying travels around the world, and then finally die as if nothing happened in the grand scheme of the universe. While that is a good life, and better than those that destroy things, it should be a minimal bar as it's limited and could potentially be so much more -- e.g. imagine being able to create Earth or life itself from scratch.

This is also a great complementary method to teach kids to do the right things. My kids love to watch TV, eat candies, and don't like to eat vegetables. For the first two, usually asking "what's the right thing to do?" would do. For the last one, I have to ask a second question, "are you a master or slave of your mouth?" As kids like being "masters," they distinctively choose that and then act like one. It did take a few tries for the idea to translate into action, but my daughter eats her vegetables now and proudly calls herself a master. :)

Happy Independence Day! :) Hope that you gain independence from life and become a master of your life, this world, and the universe. On this 4th of July, I choose and strive to become a master. What about you? If you like happy endings, you know what to do. To continuously improve yourself to become a true master, I recommend doing Master Check.

This is part of the Living Life to the Fullest blog series.

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