Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, November 26, 2007

Common Sense

Ben Stein, economist, actor, lawyer, raconteur, bon vivant, and man about town, is a font of clear thinking and common sense. If you click on the title of this post, you’ll be directed to his web site.

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want."

Right now, I’m reading one of his books: How Successful People Win: Using Bunkhouse Logic To Get What You Want In Life. (ISBN 1-56170-975-1)

Here’s the Amazon page:

The best descriptions of the book comes from that page.

From Publishers Weekly
While the cowboy life is basking in the Brokeback spotlight, Stein (How to Ruin Your Life) believes the mindset of these romantic figures-the cowboys' "bunkhouse logic"-is the ultimate guide to fulfillment in life. But don't let the stature of this breezy book fool you: Stein dispels wishful thinking and exhorts readers to figure out what they want and then to ask for it. Unlike most entries in the self-help field, Stein's writing is dark, funny and devoid of sunny aphorisms: readers should accept that life is a series of potentially debilitating blows, forego "illusions that anything will work out in a just or decent or proper way," realize that "constant ass-kissing is so demeaning to the ass-kisser and the ass-kissed that it cheapens life" and always "dream your biggest dreams." Stein's bunkhouse thinking revolves around realizing the stark facts of life and then acting accordingly, so associating with lucky, successful people is good, but choosing perfection over persistence is bad. Readers may be disheartened to read Stein's flip affirmation of their fears about how the world works, but this guide to playing the game will help those feeling hogtied.

Book Description

How Successful People Win is a serious self-help book using as its central metaphor the life of the cowboy and his behavior as he leaves his bunkhouse. Based upon a lifetime of observation of the successful and how they got that way, Ben Stein suggests that you imitate the determination, inner mobility, activity, flexibility—and the refusal to indulge in self-pity—of the cowboy in order to get what you want out of life.

The idea is that if you never indulge in making excuses, refuse to let other people’s hangups get in your way, and move deliberately toward clearly thought-out goals, you will get where you want to go. Just as the cowboy refuses to allow himself to get sidetracked by trivia, so can you refuse to allow life’s inevitable challenges and distractions mar your own success and happiness. The choice is yours.

------------- Me again.

Clear thinking; seeing life as it is, rather than how we wished it would be has always resonated with me. I think it also resonates well with what Zen and Daoism, while very different things, has to teach.
We create our lives. We live our choices.

The next time you’re at the bookstore, take a look.
You may find that the time it took was a few minutes well spent

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