I believe in striving. My parents were products of the great depression and for better or worse they inculcated a sense of urgency and industry in their children. They never really lost that fear that it could all be taken away. In time I had the opportunity to visit a number of countries, even live in a couple for a short time. I made a number of observations that helped me to define my own beliefs. One observation was that happiness has little to do with stuff. In both rural America and in developing countries like Mexico and the Dominican Republic, there are a lot of really happy people. They know their neighbors they have families, a support network and a place in the world. That doesn’t mean they don’t want. Many of them want more to eat, but that brings me to my second observation. Hunger is an excellent motivator. Once in a resort town in the Dominican Republic I was accosted by a boy who wanted me to listen to a time share spiel. He was paid by developers to get tourists to listen to one of their salesmen. I wasn’t a tourist and wasn’t going to go to a sales pitch, but I was intrigued by him. I asked a few questions and learned that he had been born in Haiti and that he could speak five languages well enough to put on a hard sell, despite never attending school. Hunger is an excellent motivator. A third and related observation is that we, here in the USA are at a tremendous advantage. We have compulsory education, almost all houses here have windows, doors, indoor plumbing, reliable utilities, a phone and a television or two. I was considered wealthy in the DR and I lived in a concrete cube with a bare bulb in the ceiling, water that came on for an hour or two a day and electricity that was unreliable at best. No one on my block had a television. Perhaps our disadvantage is that there is so little left to pursue because this I believe, it is the pursuit of a thing that gives it value.
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