Continued youthfulness means keeping the “romanticism” in our lives, the adventurous spirit that tastes life deeply in all of its marvelous, intriguing, and sometimes frustrating variety. It means loving life even after we’ve come to know it fully!
Consequences are inevitable. There is no such thing as an action that doesn’t have any result, so it is never entirely true to say, “This won’t make any difference.” Everything we do makes some difference, for better or worse.
We need to look at our customary level of action. Good people may occasionally fail to act as they should, but if self-examination shows that inaction has become a chronic problem with us, we can’t tell ourselves that we have a good character.
Faced with possible losses, deficiencies, and dangers, we try to guarantee that we won’t come up short. Yet we tend to look for security in all the wrong places, and our chosen forms of “insurance” turn out to leave us vulnerable still.
Why not improve our exemplariness? Why not give our fellow human beings the benefit of an example that can be honorably followed? Whether they ever say so or not, others will appreciate it. Maybe not now, but eventually they’ll appreciate it.
As Charles Spurgeon pointed out, earning money is not as hard as learning to spend it well. Managing our resources (whether they be many or few) so that the maximum amount of good is done, is one of our principal challenges as mature human beings.
Our wishes need to be consistent with our principles. It’s a dangerous game we play when we wish (however privately) for the fulfillment of desires that are inconsistent with our deepest convictions. So we should keep a close watch on our wishes.
Without longsuffering, we won’t grow any stronger. Strength comes from dealing with difficulty, and if we don’t hold out while the difficulty is being dealt with, we won’t get the benefit of the hardship. It’s holding out that helps us.
If we’re fully engaged in the living of real life, we’re going to make mistakes on a fairly regular basis. When we make them, it will often be necessary for us to apologize for them. Doing so is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of true strength.
We must be in passionate possession “of one idea, that is, of one great overmastering purpose,” as William Bate put it. Rather than dabbling, we must focus ourselves with concentrated energy. And that won’t happen if we don’t choose for it to happen.