The Right Questions

Windows Movie Maker is beginning to frustrate me incredibly, or rather more introspectively, I am beginning to feel frustrated in response to the Microsoft Movie Maker 2 program and its limitations. I thought earlier today, and still hold true to this ideal, about how important it is for all of us to look at what we have and be appreciative of it. We are in a world of constant supply, of things which continually get “better” while previous things get older and are labeled “not as good.” I sit in a chair that could be better, in clothes that could be better, typing on a keyboard that could be better, surrounded by an item of every size, cost, color and use which could be better. Should we get those better things then? No, obviously the answer becomes a resounding “no.” It is obvious that that cannot be the solution. Sometimes we need new things, but if we really ask ourselves when that is we are often surprised by the answer. The Rotary International Club has something they call The Four Way Test (of the things we think, say or do). It is not a direct link to what I am talking about, but it is close. Before thinking, saying or doing something, a Rotarian intends to answer these questions:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

At first it seems like these questions don’t apply to buying a new camcorder, or a new desktop computer system, but upon further inspection it becomes more clear that they do apply. (1) It is the truth that a new camcorder will be more efficient, more fun, more compatible, more useful and more capable than an older camcorder? (2) Is it fair for me to buy a new camcorder for roughly four hundred dollars when I will need money for medical school later, when people live on less than a dollar a day all around the world, when in fact I am not employed to truly earn that money and when I could be using the money for someone else? Or is it fair for me to spend some money on myself for leisure activities once and a while like other people? (3) For what reasons do I want a new camcorder, will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it by more for selfish gain rather than for the good of other people? (4) Who will it benefit? Who won’t it benefit?
These questions are difficult, important and sometimes not so clear. It isn’t always clear what we need and what we need to appreciate. It’s hard to love the body you have, the materials you have, the car, the computer, the backpack you have when all around you there are new ones with flashy features and attractive new options. However, we all have moments of happiness when that thing we love, that friend, car, palm pilot, planner, computer, pair of shoes, t-shirt or animal shows us again why it is so important to us. We don’t always have to wait for those moments to create themselves, if we want to we can create those moments too.