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A scorpion, who wants to get across a pond, spots a friendly frog. The scorpion says to the frog, "How about a lift to the other side of the pond? I can't swim and I would appreciate your helping me out." The frog replies, "No way. I know what scorpions are like. You promised not to sting me one time in the past when I gave you a lift. Yet you didn't keep your commitment and stung me. I almost died. This time you'll probably sting me halfway across the pond, from where I won't be able to swim to shore. I don't want to drown." The scorpion counters, "Don't be silly. If I am on your back, I am dependent on you to get across the pond. If I sting you, I will drown too.
As is to be expected, a large majority of individuals on this planet see themselves as a lot less selfish than the average individual. Upon dose scrutiny, however, this doesn't make much sense. Provided it was possible to measure selfishness, about half of the people would be more selfish than the average person, and about half of the people would be less selfish. The point is, it is to be impossible for a large majority to be less selfish than the average person. There is no need to measure selfishness, however. Truth be known, everyone in this world – including you and me - is selfish.
We live in a culture in which being a nice person is considered tantamount to being a good person. The result is that many nice people are mistaken for fine human beings, when, in fact, they haven't earned this distinction due to their serious character defects. On the other hand, many really good people are mistaken for having serious character defects just because they aren’t the nicest people around. So what makes a good person?
"A good head and a good heart," Nelson Mandela reminded us, "are always a formidable combination." No doubt at times it's hard for a lot of us to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys.
According to Samuel Johnson, "most people spend parts of their lives in attempts to display qualities they don't have." Indeed, motivated by the desire to be popular, many human beings go out of their way to impress the world with their nonexistent qualities. They may use expensive clothing, flashy cars, big houses, the latest fads, name-dropping, and past achievements in attempts to claim attention from other individuals. Because we are social animals, the desire to be liked and respected is natural.
Un pájaro herido no puede volar, pero un pájaro que se apega a una rama de árbol, tampoco. Dice el proverbio hindú: "El agua se purifica fluyendo; el hombre, avanzando". El mundo está lleno de sufrimiento; la raíz del sufrimiento es el apego; la supresión del sufrimiento significa la eliminación, el abandono de los apegos. Hay un deseo común, que es el cumplimiento de lo que se cree que va a dar felicidad al yo, al ego. Ese deseo es apego, porque ponemos en él la seguridad, la certeza de la felicidad.
It's somewhat of an understatement when I say that many people love to argue, that arguing is their favorite pastime. These neurotics are willing to partake in any dispute. By engaging you in a verbal battle, they get a chance to discredit your ideas and beliefs. Some desperate people will even argue about absolutely nothing just for the sake of arguing and trying to win a debate. At some point - likely much too late - you will realize how unreasonable these people are if you take their bait. Fact is, argumentative people will run you completely off your rails if you allow them.
To get the most out of your companionship, you must choose your friends well. One of the greatest time-wasters and obstacles to success in all areas of life is associating with the wrong people. Yet surprisingly many individuals spend time with dysfunctional characters whom they don 't even like. Associating with the wrong people can cost you your time, energy, creativity, and money. They can even cost you your health - mainly mental.
We all have a negative acquaintance or two who seems to know everything there is to know about what is wrong with this world. These pessimistic individuals, to be sure, can be just a little unpleasant and difficult to be around. If you are like me, after a few moments with them, you begin to squirm in your seat, trying to determine your next course of action. Unfortunately, there are no laws under which you can have negative people charged for interfering with your life.