Today many American corporations spend a great deal of money and time trying to increase the originality of their employees, hoping thereby to get a competitive edge in the marketplace. But such programs make no difference unless management also learns to recognize the valuable ideas among the many novel ones, and then finds ways of implementing them.
The rules themselves are clear enough, and within everyone’s reach. But many forces, both within ourselves and in the environment, stand in the way. It is a little like trying to lose weight: everyone knows what it takes, everyone wants to do it, yet it is next to impossible for so many.
Jane Fonda, who divided her life into three acts, decided after her sixtieth birthday that she was now facing the final act, and came to the following conclusion: "I thought to myself, well if that's the case and if what I'm scared of isn't death, but getting to the end with regrets, then I've got to figure out what would be the things that I would regret when I got to the last act if I hadn't done them or achieved them by then. And they were: having an intimate relationship and having made a difference."
How we feel about ourselves, the joy we get from living, ultimately depends directly on how the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences. Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we are able to exert over the great forces of the universe.
It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were. When we choose a goal and invest ourselves in it to the limits of concentration, whatever we do will be enjoyable. And once we have tasted this joy, we will redouble our efforts to taste it again. This is the way the self grows.
Enjoyment, on the other hand, is not always pleasant, and it can be very stressful at times. A mountain climber, for example, may be close to freezing, utterly exhausted, and in danger of falling into a bottomless crevasse, yet he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Sipping a piña colada under a palm tree at the edge of the turquoise ocean is idyllic, but it just doesn't compare to the exhilaration he feels on the windswept ridge.