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The High Road - or the Low Road?

The Unknown yet Crucial Decision you make Every Time...

Progress in life depends on many things, but perhaps most important is clarity on the path to achieve your goals. Does the end justify the means? No matter your goal, what experiences do you want along the way?

The path will be similar to the one taken by others with similar objectives. But how viable is their path? Will it work for you? Does the law of unintended consequences make its promises deceptive? Clarity here is essential, since you pay the price of failure.

But first you have a decision to make. Before anything else, you need to decide the fundamental question. What sort of person are you? Do you enjoy life? Do you want to enjoy yourself more? You need clarity on the crucial question:
The High Road and the Low Road choice in a forest
Are you going to take the high road, or take the low road?

The outcome may look more attractive on one road than the other. Yet all actions have consequences and some consequences are definitely more desirable than others.

The high road is the road of
honesty and integrity, while the low road takes the path of deception, hypocrisy, criminality, and self sabotage. You only get real joy on the high road, the low road's dishonesty condemns you to a life with, at best, superficial pleasure instead.

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The High Road
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On this path you insist on truth, sincerity and integrity, recognizing that in the long-run, the journey is more important than the end goal. It's not that results are unimportant, BUT! And that BUT is enormous. Seeming success, when brought about by dishonest means, only brings grim satisfaction which feeds your self sabotage mechanism. There's no joy in dishonesty. How can there be? Dishonesty is unreal, pretense.

Yet, like everyone else, you want to enjoy life more, which means you need to develop more joy in your life. So how do you develop joy?


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Joy comes with inner peace, which brings inner power. When you're in balance internally, you look after your inner world the same as you look after your outer world; you learn to ignore the inbuilt natural pressure to abandon integrity. But when you have one part of you pulling you one way, and another part pulling another, then how can you be in peace? If you discover how to listen to the white wolf, then you have no inner conflict.

No matter how convincing other people may sound, you don't automatically
believe them, so why would you automatically believe any of your thoughts? You need to learn to be skeptical, not a gullible believer. Each of your failures in life is undeniable proof that your thoughts are not always true. So investigate your thoughts, ask yourself the likely consequences of acting on them.

You realize that "What goes around, comes around" is indeed a natural law and since you only want good to come to you, you only do good to others.

You stop judging people, recognizing that if the circumstances were different,
your self-sabotage mechanism would try and tempt you to make the same decisions. They don't understand that all actions have consequences, although they do realize that some consequences are more desirable than others. So they rail at the consequences, ignoring the fact that their own actions have brought about their circumstances.


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You tell the truth, starting with telling the truth to yourself. You realize that what is not true deceives, and there's no real joy in deception. The self sabotage mechanism will find superficial pleasure on which it feeds, that's its source of energy, but superficial pleasure is not joy.

You become humble seeing that "I don't know" is often more true than the
self sabotage of insisting that you do. The wider your view of context, the more humility you develop as you realize the enormity of what you don't know. Which is how the influential ancient Greek philosopher Plato could truthfully say:

"This I know - that I know nothing."

Stop letting your self-sabotage mechanism pretend it's you and you have no option but to obey. When you stop feeding the black wolf, it will snap and snarl for a while. Ignore it, there's joy in realizing you can and do run your life. The know-how you're getting here - learning how to overcome your dark side - brings tremendous joy.

Giving up your view that your opinion is right, and contrasting opinions are wrong, is a tremendous relief. Realize that whatever happens is just what has happened, and you give it its meaning. This is how people can draw drastically different meanings from the same event. Then they
argue about what it means.


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Freedom is an inbuilt desire for everyone. Yet many don't realize they really want freedom from their black wolf, the self-sabotage mechanism, so they can choose their own path. You really want inner freedom. So, rather than controlling the outer world where your body lives, learn to control your inner world - where you actually live.

Give up trying to control others, which is not very effective anyway. They're on their own path and, no matter how clearly you
see their failures, they need to see them for themselves. You can suggest they view it from a wider perspective, but if they insist on making their own mistakes, why deny them? They need to see that all their actions have consequences, just as do yours. Don't alienate other adults by abrogating their freedom.

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The Low Road
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When you focus on results, you will be very tempted to use the same strategies as Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany (Nazi from Nationalsozialismus - National Socialism): The end justifies the means, and dishonesty is no problem.

"The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." said Hitler, and went on to add: "What good fortune for those in power that people do not think." Yet although your
self-sabotage mechanism rationalizes your course of action as necessary, to rationalize is to tell "rational lies!"

Collateral Damage

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Do you care about collateral damage? This is the modern euphemism for innocent bystanders who suffer as a result of government's actions. Yet the perpetrators are not held accountable, they're usually shielded by laws designed to exonerate bureaucrats and employees from the consequences of their actions. The government just sees such victims as regrettable, while the unfortunate victims themselves naturally see things very differently.

Hypocrisy - No Problem!

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One well known public figure even explicitly maintains that hypocrisy is not a problem. The ex head of the FIA defended his stance to Lucy Kellaway of the British Financial Times, asking: "What’s so wrong with hypocrisy?” Although he denies responsibility, his hypocritical actions have cost him his reputation. Yet he refuses to see that personal integrity is crucial for inner power, just as structural integrity is crucial for buildings. See:

He's given himself the experience yet declines to learn the lesson: Deception and untruth have little inner power. Why? because they are not based in reality. Only reality is real, how can anything that is not real have the power of truth?

Food for Thought

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"The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him."

- Xun Zi, architect of (Chinese) Confucian philosophy, circa 310-220 BCE.

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