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The 7 Tools Of Life

Occasionally I get a little philosophical (Okay, so more than a ‘occasionally’; it comes with the territory), and I might think up some philosophical tidbit or two. Such as now. Well, technically a few years ago but you’re hearing about it now.

I was going through an insanely difficult period of my life and found two voices warring within me. “I really need money or I’ll lose the house and end up on the street,” was clashing with, “But money is bad.” My need to see my books succeed so I’d have the money to pay off a few things and be able to write more of my own books instead of ghostwriting was bumping heads with, “But people become ratfinks the minute they become successful and I don’t want to go there.” It was a conundrum that I needed to solve very quickly before any chances I had left of seeing my dreams succeed was stolen away from me. After all, you can’t succeed at something if there’s any doubt within you that it might not be good in some way.

What to do?

The first little epiphany was, of course, the obvious. That money is simply a medium of exchange and that it is not money itself that is evil but the overly love of it that’s really bad. Of course, I like to generalize things to their ultimate conclusion, so I quickly expanded that to realize that money is a ‘tool’, not my ‘goal’; a tool that I very much needed to achieve my goal. The goal in my case was getting some debts paid off and seeing my literary efforts succeed and people reading my books.

But, if Money is a Tool, might there not be some other tools? Basic tools that one might need in life, as opposed to the Goals such tools are needed to achieve. The answer is, yes there are. I pared it down to Seven basic and critical Tools of Life, Tools that are useful for achieving one’s Goals. It is only when a Tool becomes a Goal that one gets into trouble and one of those Deadly Sins that everyone’s always talking about. Thus, Money as a Tool is perfectly okay, but Money as a Goal becomes the seed of sin and misery since it is a never ending quest.

These, then, are my Seven Tools Of Life.

1) Body: Good for physical labor, so this is a lesser tool, but also essential for living so is a greater tool. Make it a Goal, however, and you risk becoming one of those muscle-bound steroid-addicted guys constantly in the gym shortening their lives with all their supplements.

2) Intellect: A great Tool for problem-solving and thinking your way through. As a Goal, though, intellect without other purpose to solve problems or better life, becomes a person locked away in the basement shunning society as he constantly does his research without regard for how it might affect everyone.

3) Creativity: Imagination is always a great tool, useful for getting around problems the Intellect alone can’t solve, and for creating art. As a Goal, though, one risks becoming lost in their own world.

4) Socializing: This is the ability to get out there and sell yourself, to make contacts. Always useful for achieving whatever your goals might be. As a Goal itself, however, you become the image of the drunken partier with no real life ahead of you.

5) Money: This is a tool that many need to get whatever is required to achieve a goal. It is only when used as a goal in itself does it turn bad; promoting greed, uncaring disregard for anyone getting in your way, and is never ending. After all, when Money is your goal, when is there ever ‘enough’ money?

6) Courage: Without this tool, the rest cannot be achieved. But Courage as a Goal in itself is pointless, and often leads to one charging into battle before one knows if there is even a battle that needs to be fought. Or running off a cliff (metaphorically or physically).

7) Determination: When all else fails, sometimes Determination is the only tool left to you on the road to achieving your Goal. But Determination as a Goal in and of itself is a goal with no goal at all. You become determined in everything you do and say, which can often lead you to being continually angry at everything before looking around you to see if there’s really anything worth being determined about around you. It becomes determination without restraint, which is a bit like being determined to get to the head of the line before realizing that you’ve left several injured bodies behind you in the process.

So these are my 7 Tools of Life. Treat them like Tools, keep them separate from your actual Goals, and you should do fine. Myself, I seem to be missing two of them– Money and Socializing. Which Tools are you missing?

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