“It’s hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenge. If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~ E.B. White …
As I awake each morning, I certainly have the ability to choose an outlook on my day much like Elwyn’s here–one in which I am faced with the dilemma of having to choose between these two wonderful choices of desiring to improve the world or to enjoy it. And this is a very fruitful realization, for if I am able to situate my priorities in the right place, my focus will be much more positive, and a peaceful clarity will exist in my mind and heart of the day ahead and what it requires of me.
We each have the power to make the world a better place–to encourage and support, to build and create, to improve and progress, to clean and recycle, to educate and develop, to renew and restore, to care for and show compassion, concern, love, mercy, forgiveness, joy, empathy, and so much more. And all of the good, wholesome, and uplifting things we pour forth into the world contribute towards making it a better place, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant those things may seem.
In addition, life is full of so much beauty and so many amazing things for us to enjoy. The sun upon our skin on a cool day, the refreshing ocean mist at the beach, cold lemonade and ice cream on a hot summer day, the laughter of children or the sound of a newborn child… the list could go on forever. And even though there will be the occasional obstacles, difficulties, illnesses, and other unpleasant things that occur in our lives, we have the power to embrace a positive attitude and decide to enjoy whatever the day holds in store for us and make the most of its possibilities regardless.
In truth, there is no need to choose between the two approaches as they are complementary and support one another. We can simply choose to improve the world and enjoy it in the process–that is the best of both worlds.
Make the world a little better of a place because today has happened.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of things can you do to improve the world today?
What kinds of things can you enjoy today?
How might you find ways to contribute more and to enjoy doing so?
For further thought:
“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden