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Becoming a Person Who Helps People

Question from a reader -

Hi Sebastian, a question. I'd like to know how you came to be so... gracious. I've noticed that not only do you preach for others to spread gratitude, but you really do go over-the-top with it. It's a bit unbelieveable at times. But I have a good friend who is always very glad to see me (and everyone else). We aren't close anymore, but I always feel we are. I get the feeling you're similarly genuine. How did that come to be? Have you always been that way? I've been trying to be more thankful, but I don't want it to come off as meaningless as a forced plastic smile.

Well, first, that email totally made my day. Thank you.

Before I answer, I've got to pose a hypothetical question to you. Trust me, it's relevant:

Do you think it's more virtuous to do $5,000 worth of good for someone and get $0 in return, or to do $10,000 worth of good for someone and get $2,000 in return?

The Action Threshold

On Tynan

Fundamentally, I think life is about taking action. It's about drawing information from your surroundings, formulating that into a decision, and then finally acting on that decision. People who are successful and happy tend to be those who take a lot of action.

My beef with video games, TV, movies, and other sorts of passive entertainment isn't that there's NO value in them, or that they're fundamentally evil things. It's that they promote NOT taking action. When I see someone whose life is made up mostly of going to a mindless job and then coming home and indulging in passive entertainment, I think of their life as being on pause. Days spent that way just don't count. 

A lot of what I think about is what makes people take action and what makes people abstain from taking action. I think about times that I've taken action, and times that I haven't, I think about others around me and their relationship with taking action, and I think about how we can all take action more frequently.

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