The Roadmap Of Life

Mark - Dorr, Michigan
Entered on April 15, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

We all have, or at least should have, a personal philosophy of life to help guide us on our journey through life. The personal philosophy is the general beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of a person. I believe that our personal philosophy of life is something that we need to think about from time to time to help us stay on track in life.

In days past, if you were driving on a trip somewhere, you sometimes found it necessary to pull over to the side of the road; dig that map out of the glove compartment, and try to figure out where you were on your journey. Today, many people have those handy little GPS systems which tell you step-by-step how to get from Point A to Point B. That’s the role our personal philosophy plays in life. Occasionally, we need to take a look at our personal philosophy…and instead of listening to the disembodied voice of a GPS system, we need to listen to that still, small voice within us.

I recently had the opportunity to do just that. My brother, Al, forwarded to me an e-mail he had received titled “Bad American?”. The e-mail began with:

“YES, I’M A BAD AMERICAN…I am the liberal/progressives worst nightmare. I am an American. I am a Master Mason and believe in God…”

The e-mail went on to give the conservative point of view on issues such as taxation, gun rights, race relations, public prayer, the flag etc. amid red, white and blue graphics like flags, bunting and fireworks.

I used that e-mail to review my own personal philosophy of life; and the opinions on those issues it helped form. For example:

I believe in the concept of community and the commons…the things we all enjoy and benefit from like our libraries and highway system, the schools, and police and fire protection. I believe we all have a responsibility to share our financial resources to provide and maintain those things which benefit us all.

I don’t hate the rich, I just believe that more is expected of those who are given more in life. I don’t pity the poor; but I believe in the concept that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so we need to enact policies and implement programs which help the poor climb out of poverty—like the Earned Income Tax Credit. In that way we help bring about a stronger, more productive society.

The positions I found myself taking on those issues were, in most cases, light years away from the positions expressed in the e-mail. But those positions reflected my personal philosophy of life.

I believe we all need to think about our personal philosophy of life, and use it to help guide us on our journey through life. Let your philosophy of life be the map in the glove compartment or GPS system that helps guide you as you make your way through life.