Every moment, you make choices in your actions. You are modeling for yourself and others what you consider to be proper, appropriate behavior in your given situation. Likewise, you observe others and their actions. They are modeling to you what they consider to be proper, appropriate behavior in their situation.

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In the 60s, the town of Rosteo, Pennsylvania has statistically significantly fewer heart attacks and heart disease than surrounding towns that on their surface looked identical. In fact, they worked difficult blue-collar jobs, ate rich foods, and even smoked cigars. The one difference: Roseto was founded by recent Italian immigrants and they embraced their old tight-knit community ways of living life. The evidence is clear: if you belong unconditionally to a tribe, practically every other lifestyle choice you make is a rounding error.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnbPzXDco90

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One of the biggest perspective shifts I had to make in my spiritual deepening is to move from a place of judgment (this is good, that is bad, ok, awful, best, worst…) to a place of is-ness and acceptance. I can see that good and bad are stories that make sense from one point of view. But with the gift of multiperspectivity, I can see that the world just is the way it is. Some situations can cause some individuals to experience joy, some to suffer, and everything in between.

But this doesn’t necessarily lead to nihilism. There is hope. The goal is to minimize suffering. For people, yes, but for all life on earth.

So rather than labeling any situation, thing, or person as good or bad, simply ask if it adds to overall suffering or ameliorates it.

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Dave Cortright

Dave Cortright

Professional coach, effective altruist and audaciously optimistic about helping to fix the global mental health crisis.