Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 44, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
What is most important to me? What do I value the most? How do I define success? Failure? These are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves. Because our answers will tell us a lot about ourselves. You can gain the whole world and lose your own soul. That is the problem with looking outside of ourselves for what really matters.
To get to the end of my life, never to know true fulfillment and never happy with myself – how horrible a life to live. But that is the kind of life you have as long as you are looking to others for fulfillment and your happiness depends on how much money you have.
Oh, to be content! A life of contentment. That is what Lao Tzu is offering to anyone who will choose it. It really is a choice. Realizing I have everything I need, right now. That what I have is enough. That there is nothing lacking. It really is a choice. I can and do rejoice in the way things are. I don’t have to lose my own soul to gain the whole world. The whole world belongs to me, now. Because I am one with the world, now.