“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The wisdom of Star Wars

Trying implies eventually giving up but doing implies putting in the effort until the goal is achieved

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The wisdom of Star WarsStar Wars is one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. References to it are deeply embedded into our culture and the positive truths they bring to life can't be denied. This is most clearly expressed in the teachings of the Jedi, the mystical knights who bring peace and justice to the universe.…

Turning challenges into opportunities for success

But to successfully face those challenges, you need to know yourself and the opposition you face, and be prepared to grow and adapt

Turning challenges into opportunities for successIn the classic book The Art of War, Sun Tzu teaches about far more than war. He also teaches some of the key elements of a joyful and meaningful life. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the…

The pursuit of happiness

The truth is, you can't find happiness – it finds you, based on your pursuit of things that bring fulfilment and peace

The pursuit of happinessA student recently passed by my classroom and asked, “Mr. Chidiac, why are you always so happy?” I replied, “I love what I do. I love being a teacher.” She seemed satisfied and went on her way. I thought further about what she asked and my response. I really am extremely happy and I suppose…

Is neoliberalism sinful or our salvation?

It’s difficult to know for sure since academics and economists want to hide behind jargon rather than offering concrete analysis

Is neoliberalism sinful or our salvation?As the Buffalo Springfield sang in 1966, “There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. …” They were referring to civil unrest but could have been predicting the current debate about neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the ill-defined trend to less government, rolling back social programs, downward pressure on wages, fewer union jobs and careers…

How a journey through hardship can inspire your life

The key is not to run away from life but to embrace every challenge, to find its meaning and the lesson it offers

How a journey through hardship can inspire your lifeThere’s a medieval legend about an alchemist who discovers how to turn common materials into gold. Of course, we know that adding a piece of the philosopher’s stone to molten lead will not turn it into gold, yet the story provides a beautiful metaphor for life. If we look at the life of any great…

Have babies, because people are not just economic units

Children bind, deepen a commitment and give purpose. Love is the point, the key ingredient

Have babies, because people are not just economic unitsThe title ‘philosopher,’ like ‘poet,’ carries prestige that’s usually unearned. I say unearned because many poets, who are supposed to understand beauty, write beauty-free verse, and plenty of philosophers, who are supposed to be wise, counsel unethical foolishness to the world. This sad fact – that so much contemporary philosophy is not merely unwise but…

How to let go of disappointment and avoid conflict

If we want to move past unrealized expectations in our lives, we have to forget the old script and craft a new one

How to let go of disappointment and avoid conflictThe conflicts that rear up in our lives most often stem from unrealized expectations. Each of us has a script we follow, an expectation of how things are supposed to go. When our expectations aren’t met, we can be delighted by the change, significantly disappointed or even angered. When we head to a nice restaurant,…

Teaching is a constant uphill climb

The best teachers know what they want students to become. They form students into free people

Teaching is a constant uphill climbTwice in the last couple of months, I had occasion to tell an old joke about teaching. The first time came at a teachers’ book club. The second when a man saw me reading school assignments on the train and struck up a conversation about teaching. The joke goes like this: the first time you…

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical tradition

Each of us needs to be true to our mission if we’re to be effective agents of universal change

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical traditionReligion can provide guiding principles for a meaningful life, yet few concepts have been more divisive in human history. Seeing the tensions of the first half of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a deeply spiritual man, came to the following conclusion: “One should accept the faith into which one was born, but seek always…

Humans are not designed to stagnate

Standing still only causes us to move backward

Humans are not designed to stagnate“Do not be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still,” popular Zen master Leo Babauta tells us. Many in our society believe that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and once we reach it, life becomes easy. Others believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” We’re…
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