The World as We Find It

Bill Abbate

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One thing you can bet about life, in the end, it is real. Regardless of who we are or how we think, what ultimately happens in life will be based on reality. Everyone who lives a long life on earth will face the truth – life includes difficulties, trials, failures, successes, and victories. Some will be small, and some will be large.

As the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said two and a half millennia ago:

"The Only Constant in Life Is Change."- Heraclitus (535– 475 BC)

What is life?

While we use the word life all the time, what does it mean? Its definition is:

"Life – noun - 1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. 2. the existence of an individual human being or animal" – The Oxford Dictionary

This dictionary definition is incomplete. It leaves out a large portion of the reality of life. Sure, we have the "capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death" but what about the more significant parts of life? The experience of life is about far more than this brief list.

There is no mention in this definition of what it takes to survive as a lifeform. The struggles, failures, disappointments, trials, and temptations we must all face. It also makes no mention of what it takes to thrive as a human being. The overcoming, successes, triumphs, and victories we all hope to achieve. Yet, those are the things that make life what it is.

Accepting the good and bad is part of our reality and is required to live on this planet. Since the fall of man in the garden, these things always have been and always will be true.

So is there any good news in all of this, you ask? Let's find it!

The good news about life's difficulties

There is good news about the difficulties in life. It lies in acceptance. There is a saying by the famous Spanish author of Don Quixote:

"The man who is prepared has his battle half fought." Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

In preparation for life, when you accept it will contain both the good and the bad, you enter the land of reality. Accepting this fact puts you in a position to move forward and create the life you desire. When you become willing to take life as it is, you have genuinely fought half the battle and can become a winner. To deny this reality is to live a life of fiction in the land of denial.

As so well stated in this quote from one of the greatest inspirational authors of all time, the founder of Success Magazine:

"We win half the battle when we make up our minds to take the world as we find it, including the thorns." Orison Swett Marden (1848-1924)

If it is true that half of the battle is acceptance, what would the other half be? Life, as in an actual battle, means forging ahead through many skirmishes to overtake the enemy. This is no ordinary enemy, however. As Pogo humorously said:

"We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo - Walt Kelly (1913-1973)

To add to Pogo's depiction of reality, an American naval officer once stated during battle:

"We have met the enemy and they are ours." Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819)

Both of these quotes are true, we have met the enemy who is us, and the enemy is ours for the taking. We need only accept life will happen, both the good and the bad, and become determined to win the battle!

Final thoughts

Half of the battle of life is fought by preparing for it and accepting reality for what it is - real. When you can face both the good and the bad life offers, you position yourself to move ahead with the command of a realist. You may fall at times, but you can always get back up and push forward to win the fight. Remember the words of a famous coach:

"Winners never quit, and quitters never win." Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)

In the end, you can win not only the many skirmishes that inevitably occur along the way, but you can win the battle of life! All that is needed is acceptance of reality and the determination to win!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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