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THE SEVEN THIEVES OF LIFE

Special Report on the Seven Reasons


Many of Us Have for Living a Less Fulfilling Life
Version 1.0

By Dr. Jim Mulder Namaste


Director of Business Development
Enterprise Holdings

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates (470-399 BC)

A Mini-Survey

As my friend Bob Faust recently said to me, "So many of us are just a half-breath away
from having a richly rewarding life, but we don't seem to be able to take that full breath that gets
us there."

I don't know how many people achieve a 100% fulfilling life. However, we have a little
survey asking people about their personal best, which can serve as a reasonable proxy. I can
tell you what the large majority of respondents have said about others' personal best.

4 out of 5 persons say that people achieve less than 40% of their personal best! At the
same time 4 out of 5 persons say they want to achieve 90% or better of their personal best.
That's a 50% gap (!) between what people say they want versus the results they say people are
getting.

Everybody (100% of survey) says that it is important or very important to achieve your
personal best.

Now, let's put this another way. Have you ever had a job where you were told your
salary was $40,000 but you were paid only $20,000? How would you feel about that? You
would feel very strongly and you would take action very quickly.

I am very sure that no one on earth in all of human history has ever worked for more
than a few months for half the compensation that they were told they would get. But when it
comes to the value of our lives ("personal best" is a reasonable measure of that), our survey
says that most people are getting less than half, and we are living our entire life that way!

How do you explain that?

You can fill out the survey yourself and see the current results.

www.netpartners.net/surveys/pgsurvey1.html
Stealing, Feelings and Actions

So what keeps us from taking that full breath and why talk about thieves?

The reason for talking about thieves is because we need to hook how we feel about the
value of our lives to a strong emotion so that we are more likely to act. We respond to strong
emotions, one way or another. If we want to get more from our lives we need to relate emotions
and actions in ways that work for us.

Unfortunately, most of the time it is easier to react to negative feelings than positive
ones. So I am using that fact as a rhetorical device to get us started, with the hope that we can
then transform our actions to respond to more positive motivations.

If you recognize and really feel that half your life is being "stolen" from you, it may
motivate you to act. This is important because it is through lack of action that things break
down. Once you take action, the positive results you get will become motivating forces by
themselves.

Feelings and the Value of Your Life

Underneath our thought and actions, and in summing up the value of our lives, feelings
are what matter most. A deep understanding of feelings ties together human evolution and
biology, history, culture and personal development because the control of feelings is central to
our lives. That is how feelings affect everything and why they are important in examining the
value of our lives (see my book, Your Deep Personality, click here.)

Even though feelings are so basic, how we deal with them and what we do about them is
very confusing. If people are asked how they feel about the quality of their lives, many will tell
you that they are doing fine, no matter how miserable their circumstances. Then there are
people who are wealthy, eat well, travel, vacation several months out of the year, and they will
tell you, when asked to reveal their real feelings, that they are quite miserable.

People can be very good at hiding their real feelings. They can get so good that they
don't know themselves how they feel.

1. If you don't know how you feel about your life, what does that mean?
2. If you don't examine what you feel good about your life, what do you have?
3. If you have little or no feelings about your life, then how are you different from a
rock or a machine?

"What are you saying?" you ask, "Are you insane? We have lots of feelings. We feel all
the time. We stub our toe, it hurts. Somebody slights us, we get depressed. Somebody cuts
us off driving on a road and we get upset. And, sometimes, when somebody steals some
money from us, we get quite angry.

These are little events that happen to us day to day, and are associated with momentary
feelings. Then there are series of events, such as the relationships with our family members
and our friends, our work and our hobbies, that combine somehow to represent larger, more
important parts of our life.
The value of your life is made up out of many different things at different times
and in different circumstances. It is too much to deal with at one time. That's why
most people don't consider the value of their life much at all. Consequently, our
life happens to us and it is over before we even know what happened.

Remember, our survey indicates that most of you believe people get less than half value from
life, but that doesn't seem to be bothersome to most because the loss is not being felt.

But how do YOU feel about the value of your life, and how upset would you be if
someone stole a good chunk of that value? Actually, I bet your feelings about life aren't that
strong. The problem is that the value of your life is just too general and too abstract an idea.

One way to get a handle on the total quality of our lives is to break down the pieces that
keep us from achieving more fulfilling lives. There are seven main reasons that cause us to get
less from life. I call these the seven thieves because I believe that it will help to create a focus
on how much is being lost.

The Seven Thieves of Life

The first thief is mindset. Your mindset is the way you have been programmed
(socialized, acculturated) to perceive, react and relate to the world around you. It includes the
way you feel and think about yourself. It is the main general influence on what you do or don't
do. The main way that mindset steals value from our lives is by closing off possibilities. When
you close off too many possibilities you lose your access to the things that can enrich your life.

The second thief is the path of least resistance. To get more value from life you must
overcome obstacles and meet challenges, not the least of which includes dealing with your
mindset. It is very easy to follow the path of least resistance and just let things happen to you,
and before you know you have lost much that is worth while in your life. Watch your self
constantly to make sure this second thief doesn't steal something valuable from you.

The third thief is the want for immediate gratification. This one is a big one because
almost everything that is worth something requires some sacrifice. Studies have shown that
one of the major qualities of all successful people is to be able to delay gratification. You have to
make yourself do what you do not want to do. The more value you want out of life, the more you
have to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term success. Of course, don't get carried away and
sacrifice everything for the future.

The fourth thief is laziness. Value requires effort and work, especially mental activity.
Many people who work hard physically still have a very difficult time doing mental work. Getting
everything you can get from life necessitates continual attention and thinking. It requires mental
practice, training and discipline. People find this very difficult, often just giving up or not
bothering.

The fifth thief is busyness. Even if you keep away all the other thieves, modern life
tempts you with many activities, including passive television watching. It is amazing how the
average adult watches between 25-35 hours of television per week, but is "too busy" to spend
one hour per month reflecting on gaining more from life. At the other extreme there are the
workaholics who find 100 hours per week to spend on their career, and also are too busy to find
an hour per month.

The sixth thief is ignorance. If you do not know something there is no possibility of doing
anything about what you don't know. Ignorance is total helplessness and it is insidious because
you don't even know that you are helpless. Ignorance has probably caused more misery and
suffering than all other evils and natural disasters combined. You have to fight ignorance with
everything you have and must do what you can to search out knowledge, especially as it relates
to improving the quality of your life, which incorporates many areas of expertise.

The seventh thief is imbalance. This one is a very sneaky thief because it so difficult to
know and decide on the proper balance of things. There is the short term versus long-term,
small-scale versus large scale, self versus others, different activity areas, and so forth. This
thief probably steals the most from you, but much of the time you won't even know it.

After reading this you may be tempted to throw up your hands. How can you address all
of the factors that go into living a full life? Once thing is for sure, you cannot do it all at once. It
really does take study, reflection, practice and patience. However, the reward is absolute.
There is nothing better than the best.

Theft Prevention: Holding on to Life's Values

To make sure that you get full value from your life you need to do all you can to make
sure that the seven thieves steal as little as possible from you. This requires constant vigilance,
a strong enforcement system and the help from others.

You will get full value from life when you understand and can apply
what you know about the interactions between feeling, thought and
action.

Feelings drive reactions. Your mind has a fraction of a


second to intervene.
Thought can mediate and modify feelings. You can use
thinking to reprogram the way feelings and reactions
work.
Actions get results. Good ones and bad ones. You can
learn from your actions to change your thinking.

Feedback among feelings, thought and actions become very complex which is why it so
difficult to change behavior. There is also your biochemistry which adds a whole other
dimension. If biochemistry gets in the way it is important that you deal with that first.
There are many tools available to lighten the load of dealing with modern life. There are
people and organizations that exist to support you in enriching your life. The VRCities Personal
Growth Center, www.vrcities.net/prsgrowth/pgcenter.html, is one place where you can find
information and resources that will help you banish the seven thieves, if not all of the time, at
least most of the time.

Wishing You the Best

--------------------
Jim Mulder Namaste was born in Indonesia and grew up there, in the Netherlands and the U.S.
He is a veteran and an ex-academic. He has been involved in community activism and
business. He received a Ph.D. in political science, specializing in the areas of political
philosophy, public management and international organization. He also completed doctoral
course requirements in clinical psychology, focusing his studies on the areas of therapy
effectiveness, neuropsychology and personality. He has had a tough time dealing with each of
the seven thieves. To contact him regarding this report, please email jmn@actforreal.com.