Thursday, 18 September 2014

The stargazers, navel-gazers and the life-gazers

This week’s straits times tells of a tragic tale, "A young American CEO found dead outside an apartment block had a piece of paper stained with cocaine in her back pocket."

Ms Radtke in fact was a former Silicon Valley Whizz-kid. It was reported that "she had confided with her friends, co-workers and business associates that she was stressed over money matters, and even told some of them she had thoughts of killing herself." Apparently, her company was in financial difficulties.

This was what the State Coroner had to say, "It is apparent that Ms Radtke was determined to end her life and had made concerted efforts towards facilitating this outcome. It was unfortunate that the magnitude of the issues on the work and personal front had taken a toll on her and precipitated the tragic event."

My heartfelt sympathy and regards to her and her loved ones. It was a wonderful and beautiful life that was extinguished so young...she was only 28.

Lesson? I guess one of the greatest ironies of modern society is this proven failed correlation, that is, happiness and material affluence. Getting rich (or hoping/striving to get rich) is no guarantee of happiness. In fact, statistics have shown otherwise.

Sadly, not many of us have this blessed hindsight because our culture of narcissism, materialism and competitive envy have blinded us to what truly matters in our life (I preface this by saying that I am making a general observation here and this has nothing whatsoever to do with Ms Radtke's case. I make no judgment because it is usually more complicated than it seems).

I believe in our society there are the good struggle and the bad ones. And I enjoin this with there being three groups of people in this world, that is, the navel-gazer, the stargazer and the life-gazer.

The stargazers and the navel-gazers are often embroiled in the bad struggle. They either look to be stars and strive with everything they have to be one or navel-gaze into hopelessness and learned helplessness.

For the stargazers, they eventually lose their self-identity in this materialistic rat-race and as their riches crash, their life and life-worth goes with it as well. Then, the navel-gazers are those who live without goals, responsibility and hope. They are often long "dead" before their actual cremation/burial. They carry their urn of resignation with them wherever they go.

The last group are the life-gazers. Their focus is on living and on living well. They may not be rich but they are contented, and practically so. They do not hitch their self-worth on the wrong bandwagon of wealth, reputation and status. They hitch it to giving their best, accepting the losses, and moving forward. They are no doubt humans with its flaws but they make the most of a very human situation and ultimately fight the good fight to the end.

I aspire to be in this group despite my many failures. Because if life is a constant struggle, I strive to invest in the good struggles of growth rather than defeat, of hope rather than doom, and of life rather than giving up. This struggle will either take my life or I shall take life from it; and that's what the good struggle is all about. Cheerz.

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