To Be Awakened

Some of my clients', colleagues', friends', and my changed opinions.

Posted Oct 16, 2016

Thomas Tolkien, CC 2.0
Source: Thomas Tolkien, CC 2.0

Ah, to be awakened. perhaps by the sunrise, a lover’s touch, or often in my case, my doggie licking my face saying, “I want to go out.”

Of course, those are mere literal awakenings. Then there are awakened ideas, newly developed opinions. Here are some of my clients', colleagues', friends', and mine.

I've included a wide range to make it more likely that one or more will resonate with you or, better, trigger an awakening of your own.


  • Puffing's limitations. Key to human relations is to make others feel good about themselves. The question is, "When is that worth the loss of integrity?"
  • Beware of people who are nice but not good. Some people are nice but not good. When it’s expedient to be unethical and they don’t fear detection, they take care of #1, ethics be damned.
  • Marriage is growing obsolete.  Unless you’ve found an unusually compatible spouse, marriage, especially heterosexual marriage, is risky. The gender war seems to be accelerating--with more resentment and indeed trash talk about the other sex. Also, there are genetically and socially induced differences between men and women. To expect people to get along well for a lifetime, let alone to be happier and more successful than living alone, is risky. That's especially so given the legal, emotional, and financial hell that divorce often entails. Shorter-term relationships may be wiser, even if one wants children. Too many kids have been damaged by a fighting couple who stayed together only “for the kids’ sake."
  • Is having children overrated in your situation? Of course, some people feel that their kids are the best thing in their life. But other people, for example, many people who have work-lives and/or avocations on which they like to work long hours, may be wise to carefully consider the opportunity costs of time, stress, and money before following society’s norm to have children.
  • Should birds of a feather flock together? We’re told to celebrate diversity but the common sense is often true that it’s easier to get along with people like ourselves--not necessarily racially and ethnically--but in ideology, reasoning ability, interests, and interaction style.
  • Self-mentor. Many people go through life hoping a mentor will take them under wing. Alas, many people never find a mentor. Such people might want to self-mentor, journaling about an issue if necessary. They might ask themselves, “What would my wisest self do in this situation?” If they don’t know, they can find a wealth of information with just a Google search. And yes, occasionally, they might ask a person for a bit of just-in-time advice. Such bits don’t make the person feel inefficacious en toto.


  • Work-life balance isn't always important. Working long hours even when not required to, can make cosmic sense especially if you feel that the way you do your work is better or more interesting to others than what someone else could do, or if the work wouldn’t get done and is important.
  • School is overrated. For a self-starter with a goal and who isn't excited about more classroom education, it may make sense to forgo college or graduate school and, for example, start a business, found a nonprofit, or be a creative, even if income potential isn't great. The time and money on school, may, for such people, be more usefully spent on customized learning, for example, reading articles on a topic the person was interested in that s/he’d find from googling, conversations with interesting people, short courses, tutoring, etc. Even if the person wanted to be hired, s/he might convince a wise employer that the self-motivated, personalized study will make him or her a better employee.
  • Non-profit work may not always be more ethical than for-profit. Working for a for-profit that makes a worthy product sometimes does more good for more people than working for a non-profit. After all, the problems that many non-profits tackle are often intractable despite major human and financial effort. In contrast, the world has clearly benefited from many for-profit products, for example, Google, the iPhone, aspirin, the refrigerator, even attractive, fairly priced clothes.


  • Not all recreations are equal. For many people, the most rewarding recreations are video games, team sports, and participating in a public creative activity such as a choir, community theatre, or community orchestra.

The life well-led

  • A more realistic "God." The probability is small that there is a traditionally conceived-of God: omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent. Similarly, the odds are small that the first natural object was created by a deity rather than by some scientific phenomena yet unexplained. That doesn’t mean that “God” doesn’t exist. It may be worth conceiving of “God” as humankind’s highest and best values and behaviors.
  • Meaningful heartbeats. The life well-led requires spending as many of our heartbeats as possible trying to make the biggest difference for humankind that someone else is less likely to have made.

The takeaway

So, is there one or more ideas on the list that you want to consider. Perhaps more important, are any of your beliefs ripe for change, an awakening to a new view?

Marty Nemko’s bio is in Wikipedia. His newest book, his 8th, is The Best of Marty Nemko.