by Mike O’Mary
I have two quotes for you today. The first is from Maurice Sendak, the award-winning author of many children’s books, who once made the pointed observation that, “There must be more to life than having everything.” Unfortunately, he didn’t say what more there must be.
I used to subscribe to a newsletter called “The Meaning of Life.” Although it had the same title as the Monty Python movie, it was not a humorous newsletter. It was a serious attempt by a University of Chicago professor of philosophy to help people find and examine the things that add meaning to their lives.
At various times, the newsletter examined various traits and values that can help bring meaning to your life. Things like integrity, enthusiasm, honesty and spontaneity, among others.
Those are all things that we strive for in our lives. But it’s important to realize that those things are intertwined. You can’t have enthusiasm without integrity, for example, or spontaneity without honesty.
Those thoughts are not my own. I didn’t make the connection until I came across the following quote from Robert Schuller: “Integrity makes enthusiasm possible. Only honest people are subconsciously liberated to be totally spontaneous. Without that quality, enthusiasm is contrived and not an authentic motivating factor in life.”
If you want to have enthusiasm and be spontaneous, you have to be honest and have integrity. There are no shortcuts. And if you want to do more than “have everything,” you must aspire to “be” something. Being honest and having integrity is a pretty good place to start.
Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, a book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 14 topics, including an anthology titled “Advice You’d Like to Pass on to Others.”