Glad I wrote about focusing last week. There was a short article in the news about Generation Z Koreans abandoning the more pleasure-seeking Millennials that proceeded them and are now focusing on self-improvement. It’s being called God-saeng and roughly translates as God-life.
Apparently, they are wise enough to realize that “saving the world” or immersing themselves in a conventical or monastic life is not the way to go. They instead try to focus on the little things they can do for themselves and those immediately around them – family and friends – and/or impose more self-discipline in their daily lives.
And these can be things that in the past they didn’t do: make their bed in the morning [I confess, my bedmaking is self-serving – right before I go to bed at night and bring the dog up – I just don’t like the idea of my beagle’s behind on my pillow], drinking enough water throughout the day, or chatting pleasantly with a neighbor.
These are all self-actualizing. As much as they or we wish to stop the war in Ukraine or global warming for the whole world – if these and other battles like them, or the only ones we fought we’d be continually frustrated and most likely give up. Which would be a shame.
Instead, a healthy balance of positive actions where results can be seen is a welcome strategy. I think it’s one that anyone can implement – to whatever extent makes sense.
For example, I can resume one of my favorites now that spring is here (at least here in the Midwest we hope so). I can once again carry an extra shopping bag when I walk my dog and pick up pieces of litter that are now popping up with the crocuses. I don’t have to fill the bag every time. Maybe set a reasonable goal – four to six pieces on one or two walks. Heck, it’s a thousand percent better than none at all!
And as to be expected, there are even apps being rolled out to help track and make self-improvement a game. I’m 80, so at best I’ll just keep a tally sheet. But being 80, I’ll probably forget to write anything down anyhow. And I don’t think I’ll make tracking things part of my “little things to make life better.” But it’s worth the thought. Let’s remember that smiling and being nice to others qualifies as a little thing that is also very big.
Kudos to all for trying!! Don’t lose track of the big picture – we should never give up trying to save the world but in the meanwhile one or two little things wouldn’t hurt and may do a world of good. You never know.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.