I often forget to pause for the minute's silence at 11.11am on the 11th of November - Remembrance Day - the anniversary of the end of WWI. But I sometimes think about the people whose lives were taken in wars and feel a dull, heavy darkness inside.
I don't know what war's like. I've never even been close to one. I know it only through movies, history lessons, and my walking tour of Gallipoli in Turkey many years ago.
In my imagination I see myself in some of those movie scenes, playing my part to defeat the evil forces trying to rob me of my freedom. Of course, war isn't always that simple. The agendas driving them are often more numerous and less honorable than defending freedom.
What IS clear is that monumental amounts of suffering have been endured by people (and other beings) in wars. And most of these beings would have participated either because they had no choice, or because, at least in their intentions, they were fighting for our right to live free and happy lives.
In Australia, we're pretty darned close to this outcome. It's not perfect. The way the British went about settling this country was essentially a war, it's just that the other side had vastly inferior weapons. We're still trying to figure out how to heal the aftermath of that with our indigenous people 230 years later. We have other tough issues to solve too, like domestic violence.
But most Australians alive today have few societal barriers to living peaceful lives. We have food, shelter, free education and health care, an abundance of natural beauty to enjoy, and a relatively safe and harmonious society. In some ways, you could say we have the fruits of those war-time sacrifices.
And yet here we are, more miserable than ever! Anxiety and depression are at all-time highs. Even before the pandemic, one in ten Australian adults were taking an anti-depressant every day and this has gotten worse in the pandemic, especially among young people who have been presenting at emergency wards with self-harm at alarming rates. Much of the Western world is seeing similar trends.
In my view, pausing for a minute once a year to remember the sacrifices people have made for our freedom is pretty light-on. To truly honor those sacrifices, shouldn't we get serious about making the most of our lives? Shouldn't we do whatever it takes to flourish as human beings now that we have the peaceful-enough societies to do that?
A comfortable, safe life is not the endgoal. It's the launch-pad for a rich, fulfilling life!
Ironically, our ancestors' struggles to get us here gave them some elements of fulfillment that peaceful times don't.
We're wired to engage our talents towards goals - in a way, to struggle. They certainly had to do that!
We're also wired for belonging - wartime gives you that too - a clear sense of belonging to a tribe.
And we also thrive by contributing to causes outside of our own benefit - fighting for my country gives us that.
I suspect the lack of these things would partly explain why some people are attracted to us-and-them ideological groups nowadays.
One powerful and meaningful way to honor the sacrifices made by the countless beings before us, is to commit to really flourishing in our lives. Not just getting by, not just being comfortable or safe, but truly making the most of this rare opportunity we have in the history of humanity, to decide how to live life.
Of course the question then arises....how do I do that? No-one teaches us this! Well, that's in fact what all our efforts with Flourish Personal Growth are about and we have a super-powerful tool called the Flourish Life Assessment to get you going.
I'm going to use this very poignant opportunity to encourage you to act on this. For the next THREE DAYS I'm going to give it to you for HALF PRICE, just enter the code 50%OFFFLA at checkout!
This 43 page workbook starts with some powerful reflections on your life starting right where you are now. It then leads you through a self assessment on the Nine Needs for full human flourishing and the Five Growth Superpowers that are needed to make meaningful changes in your life. And finally, it walks you through mindful reflection and planning based on what you find.
Figuring out how to flourish can take decades - I know, I've been doing it for decades! But the reason I'm building Flourish is so that you don't have to take that long. Our tools are based on modern research, ancient wisdom, and practical experience - they actually work! They give you the shortcut to development that actually leads to flourishing.
Committing to the adventure of living a rich and fulfilling life, not just a safe and comfortable one is, in my view, the most powerful way to honor the striving and sacrifice of those who've gone before us.
My offer is only on until midnight Sunday night, so that you don't delay and then never get around to it. Here it is again. Will you take this step to make the most of this brief and precious life you have?