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Be Your Own Savior While You Still Can

“Stop drifting—sprint to the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.” ~Marcus Aurelius

In a world on fire, it’s on you to be water. It’s on you to put out the flames. It’s on you to become the savior you’ve been waiting for. Idleness makes you mere kindling; boldness makes you a force of nature to contend with.

If, as Steve Jobs advised, “remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose,” then it stands to reason that you use death as a guide for redeeming your life.

Because you are going to die. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday you will be pushing up daisies along with every other human being who has ever existed.

The question is: will it be death by boredom and banality pining for a savior, or death by passion and curiosity becoming your own savior?

You have from this day until the day you die to live the life you want to live. You might as well make it a healthy life. You might as well make it a heroic life.

You had an eternity before you existed to do nothing. You’ll have an eternity after you exist to do nothing. Now is your time to actually do something, to find something you love to do and then use it to save your life.

Place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others:

“Once you fall in love with yourself, their game is over.” ~Alamir Guard

Focus on you until the focus is on you, then focus on the world.

The best way to do this is to imagine your life as a crashing plane. In the crashing plane that is your life, you must be capable of putting the oxygen mask (health) on yourself before assisting others. Once you have your mask set right, you can begin attempting to set the world right.

If you attempt to set the world right without your oxygen mask on, you risk not being able to help because you can’t function. You risk ill-health and incompetence. You risk death before your time.

With your oxygen mask secure, however, you will have the health and confidence needed to engage the world with strength and vitality. You will be a force to be reckoned with. Such a force can bring balance to an otherwise imbalanced world. Such a force can even prevent the plane from crashing before its time.

Seen in this light, you can see how there is a virtue in selfishness. For it is selfishness with good intent. The selfishness of putting the oxygen mask on yourself leads to the selflessness of helping others do the same.

Pride up; ego down. Confidence up; conceit down. Chin up; foot down. Self-esteem leads to prestige when you use it toward the wellbeing of others and to ground the world in health.

Be counteractive with answers and proactive with questions:

“Be a free thinker and don't accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.” ~Aristotle

Sometimes saving yourself means freeing yourself from what has been preventing you from flourishing. Often what prevents you from flourishing is not so obvious. It can be as simple as an outdated law or as complex as a limited worldview. Paradoxically, the only way to know for sure of what’s preventing you from flourishing is to not be sure.

Ironically, when you’re not sure of anything, you free yourself to be sure of what’s possible and what’s not. This is because when you sacrifice certainty, you resurrect curiosity. You get out in front of what you think you know so that what you don’t know can at least potentially become knowable.

This requires a questioning disposition. It requires the ability to face an “answer” with credulity and circumspection; to, as Aristotle suggested, “entertain a thought without accepting it.” It requires the fortitude to cut through orthodoxy with an unorthodox sword.

In the spirit of becoming your own savior, there is perhaps nothing more powerful than questioning the answers that came before you. Nothing is more powerful than an unorthodox question mark planted over an orthodox period.

The questioner is the redeemer. For what must be redeemed is the Truth Quest itself, and it is redeemed from the trap of the so-called “truth.”