Be loving. I will (a) show the special people in my life that I
love and need them. I'll say "I love you" often. (b) Ask at least
one person every day if I can help them--and really mean it.
Life's greatest joys are to love and to be loved. Be loving to
many people, not just to one person or to your family.
Treasure life. In spite of the focus in this chapter on major
values and over-riding goals, I will also value hundreds of
wonderful little events in life: observing beauty, enjoying
music, watching a sunset, giving compliments, sharing candy,
smelling a rose, taking a warm bath, etc., etc.
These are just general examples. They do not include the specifics
(when, where, and exactly how) you will need to consider. Now it's
your turn to write down specific ways you can start living your values.
Be concrete about what you will do, when you will start, how often,
with whom, etc. so that you have a practical to-be-done list to work
from each day.
Concluding Comments and Recommended Reading
I hope it is clear to you now that self-help methods can help you
become your best possible self as well as deal with serious problems or
just change the things you'd like to see happen, like being a better
conversationalist. Any self-improvement requires daily or hourly
attention (but once done, it may last forever). However, coming up
with the list of ways and specific plans at this time to carry out your
moral principles is not a once-in-a-lifetime chore, it is only the
beginning. You will probably need to learn a lot about yourself and
self-help to do what you think you should do; you will occasionally--
every few months--want to re-evaluate your major values relative to
other pressing desires and urges you experience; you will need to re-
affirm and re-dedicate yourself to your highest values; you will need to
periodically re-assess your goals and the payoffs to others and to
yourself, then decide if your current lifestyle is the best you can do.
You can find thought-provoking ideas about life's purpose in many
places. In chapter 14, helpful attitudes are discussed, including the
idea of finding meaning in whatever life situation you happen to be in
at the moment. Also, how we can use beliefs, such as religious beliefs
or faith in science or some political system, to bolster our feelings of
certainty and security, is discussed in that chapter. The classic book in
this area is Frankl's (1970) Man's Search for Meaning. I'd also
recommend reading one of Scott Peck's books (1993), although he has
become quite religious. Etzione (1993) and Lerner (1995) speak
eloquently about the spirit of community--caring for one another. They
say our culture has emphasized materialism and individual rights to
the point of demanding getting certain benefits, such as welfare, farm
subsidies, unemployment compensation, special education, health