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The Candid Conservative: It matters how you matter
Thursday, 02 February 2017 13:12


Special to the Daily Planet

Success to me is being a good person, treating people well.

—  David LaChapelle


The Problem

A great philosopher was once asked, “What’s the most important thing to a human being?” “To matter he answered – we all need to matter.”

 In the 21st century, the opportunities to matter in a bad way are growing at an astounding pace.  It’s easier than ever to get conned into a harmful life course.

 Here are 10 that can work for or against you:

Bad – embracing permanent victim status

 Most enablers are as devoted to helping their ego as to helping others. One demonstration of that agenda is the tendency to encourage the disadvantaged to embrace their limitations over their strengths.

 Real growth keys on coping with weaknesses as we build on talents. Obsessing over the former impairs our ability to expand the latter.

 Playing the victim can be fun and a great source of an “I matter” fix but the high is temporary.

 The fact is very few people make it through life without trauma. To that extent most everyone is a victim.  

 That leaves us with a truism – what matters most in life is not what comes at us, but how we chose to handle it.     

Good – be useful

 The single greatest source of personal power, liberation, and opportunity is a persistent dedication to being productive.

People who are useful consciously invest their energies in building, growing, creating, or otherwise producing something of value.

Importantly, what you do matters far less than how you do it. A guy who does a good job of setting up and maintaining porta johns matters more than a Harvard educated attorney who goes through the motions.

In being useful one finds a lifetime of opportunity to matter in a good way.

Bad – attempting perfection

We live in a very critical world. Those who would raise their value by demeaning ours are legion.

Keeping a low profile is one way to attempt to avoid the heat. Undertaking the impossible mission of perfection is another.

Perfectionists are different than achievers. Both aim high, but perfectionists obsess over where they fell short while achievers celebrate what they’ve accomplished.

Perfectionism makes one a hostage to what is most surely fear and personal vanity.  Better to be a liberated contributor – and skip the attempt to silence chirping critics.  

Jesus is heralded as the only man who walked without sin. That’s perfection and yet he was crucified. What makes us think we’ll get a better deal?


Good – a place in the world

Some of us are lucky enough to be given our place in the world. Others are fortunate in finding theirs. Most of us are stuck with a tough fact – we must build our place in the world. That last option sounds unfair – it isn’t.

Those who are gifted a place tend to coast and take the opportunities for granted. Those who find their place through accident or grace are at similar risk. Only those who build their own place enjoy the reaping the rewards that flow from personal effort.


 It’s an issue of indifference as to how little one starts with or how many obstacles are in front. The raw the materials for building a life of value are always within reach because God always nestles opportunity amidst misery.


Whether our outcome is a cottage or a château – a life built upon the foundation of one’s own labors matters in the best of ways.


Bad — treating people as disposable

Modern life is a bit like a box of cereal. It’s not unusual for more energy to be invested in the container than the contents.


In the worldly pursuit of the superficial and image-based, everything becomes temporary and disposable – including people.


In today’s America where we trade in our gender and morality as surely as our spouses and friends, loyalty is more about convenience than commitment.


We have three relationship options – suffer, split or salvage.


 The first is the worst – enduring a bad relationship is misery. Severing is the easiest. All we have to do is trade that person in for a new one.


 Salvaging is where it’s really at. In working to sustain our relationships we grow in character, strength, and maturity and help others do the same. That’s a top tier way to matter.


Good – take care of the team

As the blessed occupiers of the top spot on the food chain we’re gifted with a head, heart, body and spirit. All are important.


 To the extent there’s usually a bully in any crowd, we have a tendency to let one dominate the rest. It’s easy to have a head that thinks too much; a heart that’s dominated by a narrow list of passions; a body that’s addicted to its own pleasures; or a spirit that’s indifferent or devoted to dark arts.


 Maintaining balance requires that we give positive energy – every day – to growing each part of our team.


Bad – opinions without knowledge 

 We live in the age of false confidence. That attitude owes itself to the baby boomers who first embraced the ‘we’re all special’ fantasy.


 There’s a difference in special and unique. Snowflakes are unique, but looking into the eye of a blizzard one is hard pressed to spot the special ones.


 We’ve become so special we think we have something to contribute even when we don’t. Thus generated opinions are like mud pies – easy to craft but with no real ingredients.


 A neon marker for opinion addicts – they operate off what they feel over what’s real.


Good – make love a priority

 Hate to reduce life to such a fine point, but without love – given and received – I’m not sure it’s worth it.


 What’s love? My favorite definition is that which we give toward the betterment of self and others. Indulgence has nothing to do with this equation – either in terms of pandering to others or selfishly feeding our own selfish interests.


 Love is a skill and like all skill it takes action and practice to get it right. Lofty thoughts and warm fuzzy feelings will mold without action.


 There’s some bad news for those who embrace love’s imitators. Lust, dependency, and infatuation have the same connection to love that Kool-Aid has to a fine wine.


Bad – confusing echoes with news 

At no time in history have we had so much access to so much information. Ironically, that bounty has created opportunity for greater confusion. As quantity has increased – quality has retreated.   


 Case in point – investigative reporting has largely gone the way of 35 mm cameras. What we have today is a squirrely mishmash of subjective opinion, propaganda, and selective fact mining crafted into what easily qualifies as fake news.


 Note the similarity in the information shared by differing media outlets. That’s not because they’ve all dug into the facts and landed on the same truth. Today’s technology enables journalists to grab data from a few sources, season it with spin, and present polished opinion as news.


 Skepticism is an appropriate filer to use with most of today’s news outlets.


 When news is presented in a way that entertains or attempts to convince you of one view, put the brakes on. There is a difference in a real news outlet and a propaganda outlet just like there’s a difference in a Boy Scout leader and a pedophile.  


Good – put something back into the pot 

 Two of the more common and primitive ways to matter are resistance and selfishness. The behaviors associated with the terrible two’s offer example. Many people start young and carry those skills to their grave. Better off are those who mature into a life more devoted to giving than taking.   


 In the face of confusion on determining good ways to matter from bad, note a simple measurement – easy and good rarely travel in the same direction.


We are placed on this planet for something more important than just our own personal pleasures. Helping to make it a better place is an absolutely best way to matter….

Thanks for spending a few minutes with a candid conservative!


 Carl Mumpower is a psychologist and former elected official. He thanks you for spending a few minutes with a candid conservative and invites you to reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 





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