Juan Manuel de Prada, “El negocio de la vida”, ABC, 15.XII.07

Las informaciones que diariamente nos suministra ABC nos permiten hacernos una idea del negocio cochambroso que se esconde detrás del aborto. Tras el escándalo de los mataderos barceloneses, ahora le toca el turno a Madrid. Fetos descuartizados y arrojados al contenedor de la basura, informes en blanco con la firma de psiquiatras inescrupulosos, historias clínicas de abortos clandestinos destinadas a la trituradora de papel… Puro estajanovismo al servicio del crimen industrial. Y, detrás de tanta ignominia, una procesión incesante de mujeres demolidas saliendo de los mataderos, expoliadas de la vida a la que prestaban su sustento, huérfanas del hijo que habían concebido, marcadas para siempre por una decisión que no habrían tomado si no las hubiese atosigado la necesidad o el miedo insuperable, perseguidas para siempre por la sombra de un crimen que no habrían cometido si alguien les hubiese hecho saber que no estaban solas, que el hijo que crecía en sus entrañas era valioso y único, que en la supervivencia de ese hijo se cifraba nuestra supervivencia social.

La inspección de sanidad de la Comunidad de Madrid ha cerrado algunos de estos mataderos «por considerar la existencia de un riesgo grave para la salud de las personas». Es una medida administrativa loable, pero insuficiente. Pues de lo que se trata no es de cerrar tal o cual matadero porque incumpla tal o cual normativa sanitaria, porque arroje a la basura los cadáveres de esos niños nonatos en lugar de arrojarlos a la incineradora. De lo que se trata es de que ninguna mujer sea empujada a abortar. Y para ello hace falta algo más que un riguroso cumplimiento de la normativa sanitaria. Hace falta que esas mujeres que abortan se tropiecen con el abrazo de una sociedad que las acompaña samaritanamente en su difícil trance, que se compromete en su desdicha, que se compadece de su sufrimiento porque esa vida de la que son portadoras es dueña de un destino inalienable. Hace falta que la tragedia de esas mujeres sea la tragedia de la sociedad entera: hace falta que ellas lo sepan y que cada uno de nosotros lo sepamos.

La herida que el relativismo moral nos ha infligido, bien lo sé, es profunda y no cesa de sangrar. El egoísmo y la cobardía se han aliado con la basura cósmica del feminismo progre para justificar o condescender con tanta bestialidad. Pero quiero pensar que aún hay personas que se rebelan contra lo que consideran un crimen de lesa humanidad. Y quiero pensar que esas personas buenas también se cuentan entre quienes nos representan; quiero pensar que aún existen al frente de nuestras instituciones personas que sienten cómo su conciencia se revuelve ante el espectáculo de tanta vida arrojada al vertedero, que se sienten un poco más muertos cada vez que una de estas vidas nos es arrebatada, cada vez que una de estas vidas no alcanza a cumplirse. Quiero pensar que esas personas existen; sé que existen, porque a veces he hablado con ellas, he compartido con ellas mi inquietud y mi rabia, que son las suyas.

Por un momento, mientras me desayunaba las informaciones de ABC sobre el turbio negocio del aborto en los mataderos de Madrid, he pensado que Esperanza Aguirre y Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón podrían ser dos de esas personas. Y he pensado que quizás ellos también se hayan desayunado esa cochambre; he pensado que tal vez algo se haya revuelto dentro de ellos mientras lo hacían, algo que incumbía al fondo de su humanidad. Y he pensado que acaso, después de sentir cómo el frío helador de la muerte se inmiscuía en su aliento, se han telefoneado y se han dicho: por fin hay una causa en la que podemos emplear nuestros esfuerzos de consuno, por fin hay una causa que nos interpela a ambos y en la que ambos podemos actuar como vanguardia de humanidad. Y he pensado que ambos podrían salir a la palestra para garantizar a cualquier mujer residente en sus respectivas demarcaciones que se haya quedado embarazada un compromiso firme de la sociedad que representan: el compromiso de que esa vida de la que son depositarias alcance su destino, el compromiso de que no habrá necesidad ni miedo que puedan cercenar ese destino. Si se decidieran a asumir ese compromiso, habrían hecho el negocio de su vida.

Alfonso Aguiló, “Decidir en conciencia”, Hacer Familia nº 165, XI.2007

Jean Bernard es un sacerdote luxemburgués de treinta y cinco años, cautivo en el campo de concentración de Dachau. Lleva diez meses en el “Pfarrerblock”, un pabellón en el que están prisioneros 2771 sacerdotes y religiosos de toda Europa.

Un día de febrero de 1942, Jean Bernard es liberado y devuelto a su Luxemburgo natal. No se le dan explicaciones hasta que ya está allí. En realidad, aquello son sólo nueve días de libertad para que visite a su Obispo y le convenza para que haga una declaración de apoyo a Hitler, con objeto de intentar romper así la total resistencia del clero católico local. A cambio, las autoridades alemanas le ofrecen respetar su vida, la de su familia y la de los demás clérigos prisioneros. Si huye, o si el objetivo no se logra, los veinte sacerdotes luxemburgueses de Dachau serán ejecutados.

Continuar leyendo “Alfonso Aguiló, “Decidir en conciencia”, Hacer Familia nº 165, XI.2007″

Alfonso Aguiló, “La decisión está en tus manos”, Hacer Familia nº 167, I.2008

Hace casi dos mil años, había en una ciudad dos escuelas de enseñanza, dirigidas por dos sabios de renombre: Hilel y Shamai. Ambas eran exigentes y prestigiosas, y sus alumnos eran considerados por todos como una elite muy distinguida.

Continuar leyendo “Alfonso Aguiló, “La decisión está en tus manos”, Hacer Familia nº 167, I.2008″

Juan Manuel de Prada, “Las lecciones de los primeros cristianos”, Zenit, 19.XI.07

Juan Manuel de Prada, conocido escritor español y columnista de prensa, anima a dar a conocer el ejemplo de los primeros seguidores de Cristo al celebrarse el primer aniversario de www.primeroscristianos.com. Este portal católico está presentando y dando contexto a las intervenciones que Benedicto XVI viene realizando en las audiencias generales del miércoles sobre las grandes figuras de los orígenes de la Iglesia. En la entrevista concedida con este motivo a la página web, De Prada recuerda los paralelismos entre la situación de los cristianos hoy y la de los primeros creyentes. Continuar leyendo “Juan Manuel de Prada, “Las lecciones de los primeros cristianos”, Zenit, 19.XI.07″

Alejandro Llano, “¿Mejorar o transformar la sociedad?”, La Gaceta, 7.XI.2007

La caída del muro de Berlín en 1989 no fue sólo un evento emotivo, ni afectó exclusivamente a quienes se encontraban a un lado y otro de aquella ignominia. Constituyó un acontecimiento cultural de primer orden, cuyos efectos se dejan sentir hasta el día de hoy. Significó el final de la era de las revoluciones. Dos siglos tardamos en percatarnos de que, en la entraña de todas las revoluciones políticas europeas, anidaba un elemento totalitario que atentaba contra el respeto a las personas humanas.

Continuar leyendo “Alejandro Llano, “¿Mejorar o transformar la sociedad?”, La Gaceta, 7.XI.2007″

0. Presentation

Alfonso Aguiló

“Character and success in your life”
100 stories and reflections on the personal improvement
Translation by Manuel Hernandez Pujadas: manueljmj@wanadoo.es

 

ALFONSO AGUILÓ PASTRANA was born in Madrid in 1959. He has a graduation in civil engineering and y PADE of IESE, but he abandoned quickly the exercise of that profession to be dedicated to diverse works of educational ant formative nature. Since 1991 he is vice President of the European Institute of Studies of the Education (EISE) and since 2007 President of “Asociación Madrileña de Empresas Privadas de Enseñanza” (AMEPE-CECE Madrid) and since 2015 President of “Confederación Española de Centros de Enseñanza” (CECE). He has published more than two hundred articles in diverse magazines and specialized publications, as well as ten books on themes of education and anthropology:  “Your son from 10 to 12 years”, “To educate the character”, “Questions around the faith”, “The tolerance”, “Character and personal value”, “To educate the feelings”, “25 present-day questions about the faith”, “Is it reasonable to be a believer?” and “The God’s call”.  In 1999 he created in the internet the site www.interrogantes.net and he was Principal of Colegio Tajamar (2002-2013).

(1) interrogantes = questions

 

Many people do large investments of time, energy and money to expand each time more their own knowledge and to improve their own personal abilities.  Nevertheless, most of the times those people present later serious lacks in which refers to the education of their own character: pessimism, indecision, disorder, insecurity, dependence of the states of spirit, difficulty to work in team or to relate to the others, or other defects in their way to be that suppose an important ballast, not only for their worth as professionals but also for their happiness and their fulfillment as persons.
The character of a person is, very often, what marks the ceiling of his possibilities in the professional area and in his family or friendship relations. Most of the times, what lacks us is not more know-how, titles or languages, but a better relation with the others, to dominate the states of spirit, to learn to organize us, to manage to be cordial and optimistic, to understand better the alien and the own problems, to cultivate more what gives light and sense to our life and so on. Almost everyone senses that he would have to improve in many of those aspects, but few know how to achieve it.  Through stories, examples and anecdotes of the everyday life, in these pages there are reflections on how to accede to that change: a change that passes for changing ourselves and in many cases by changing before our perception of the problems.

 

Summary

I. Character and personal improvement

1.  The force of the education
2.  Seeing in others our defects
3. To become adult
4.  The force of the expectation
5.  Intelligence guided intelligently
6.  Intelligent reactions
7.  Happiness and money
8.  The attraction of the virtue and of the goodness
9.  The risk of the slowness
10.  Sense of humor

II. To rely on the others

11.  Personal interdependency
12.  Playing in team
13.  The abyss of the solitude
14.  To allow the others to convince us
15.  The reasons of the others
16.  The forms are important
17.  Way of explaining and brains
18.  Spontaneity, to where?
19.  Having conversation

III. Be centered in the others

20.  The exaltation of the ego
21.  Believing in the others
22.  Fear to the interference
23.  Corresponding
24.  The little glass in the eye
25.  People interested in the others
26.  To give energy to the others
27.  The true love
28.  The false compassion

IV. Liberty, ideals, commitment

29.  The ideals of the youth
30.  To feel interpellated
31.  Question of habits
32.  The impatience of the men
33.  The moral solitude
34.  Simple solutions
35.  Human models
36.  The shadows and the fears
37.  Religion and moral education
38.  Respect to the sacred

V. Character, autonomy and authority

39.  Latent decisions
40.  Authority and authoritarianism
41.  The theory of the germs
42.  An exterior impulse
43.  Learning to say”no”
44.  Independence and education
45.  Closed minds
46.  The judgment of the children
47.  Self-control and coherence
48.  The problem of being a fool
49.  The great men

VI. Overcoming the difficulty

50.  The miracle of the perseverance
51.  The test of the pain
52.  The blows of the life
53.  The interior liberty to elect
54.  Intelligent memory
55.  Successes and failures
56.  Be recovered
57.  The pain of the others
58.  Defending the rights of the others
59.  The human will

VII. Constancy and tenacity

60.  The man that planted trees
61.  Tenacity
62.  The passiveness
63.  Expectations of failure
64.  To escape to the past or to the future
65.  Investing in the future
66.  Willfulness
67.  Illnesses of the will
68.  Living better with less
69.  Austerity and temperance
70.  The mirror of the desires

VIII. The risk of the addiction

71.  The myth of Sísifo
72.  Inadvertent addictions
73.  The lion and the gazelle
74.  The avoidability of the disaster
75.  Addictions and love
76.  Love and liberty

IX. The risk of feeling oneself a victim

77.  The inner dialogue
78.  The spiral of the complaint
79.  The comfort of the rout
80.  The rhetoric of the self-considered victims
81.  The temptation of the innocence
82.  The sound barrier

X. Pride and egocentrism

83.  Arrogance I?
84.  Escaping from oneself
85.  The spiral of the grudge
86.  The sense of fault
87.  The risk of the self-deception
88.  The control of the wrath
89.  The satisfaction of the desires
90.  A new code

XI. Reflection and renewal

91.  Resistance to be renewed
92.  The power of the language
93.  The sorrow of reading
94.  Capacity of admiration
95.  Coherence and proximity
96.  To take risk to loose
97.  A head well furnished
98.  The true culture
99.  Eagerness to learn
100.  The tacit knowledge

I. Character and personal improvement

1.  The force of the education
2.  Seeing in others our defects
3. To become adult
4.  The force of the expectation
5.  Intelligence guided intelligently
6.  Intelligent reactions
7.  Happiness and money
8.  The attraction of the virtue and of the goodness
9.  The risk of the slowness
10.  Sense of humor

1.  The force of the education

"The mister of the flies" is a magnificent novel of William Golding.  It relates the history of about thirty English boys that are the only survivors of a plane crash.  They have to organize their life alone in a small deserted island, without the aid of adults.  Grouped around two leaders, Ralph and Jack, quick they verify that to live together is not a simple task.  The first conflicts appear, difficult to resolve in that situation, and finally the violence explodes, that flows into an open war among them, with tragic consequences. 

The history of the difficult coexistence of these shipwrecked youths is sprinkled of multitude of details that show the fundamental importance of that learning and those values that the man has accumulated during centuries and that he transmits from one generation to another by means of the education.  Opposite to other more ingenuous visions on the kindness of the children, Golding shows the wickedness that nests in the human heart, and points out that the only possibility of rescue of the man should come him from outside.  Without aid, without education, the man is found very defenseless in front of the push of his bad tendencies. It is certain that he seeks naturally the goodness, but it is also certain that his nature is injured and that it needs many cares to function correctly. 

Any person with a little experience of the life knows what the wickedness of the man is, has seen already many times its ugly face of inhumanity.  Golding unmasks the roussonian simpleness of the natural kindness of the man and its progressive degradation by the radical wickedness of the society and of the culture. And he questions also the arrogant rationalism of the 19th century, that did to many to trust that the economic and scientific progress would bring with itself a moral progress equally fast.  The ones that fed that ideal thought have founded once and for all with the final formula of the efficacy and the welfare, but soon they saw that their optimism was hasty, that the economic and scientific advance does not signify that the men can have better understanding among them, neither that they improve their mutual respect, neither that they live in peace.  And the fact is that, at the end, even when a lot of economic or scientific progress could be reached, it will never be easy to educate morally to the man. 

The history shows numerous well eloquent testimonies of to where can the wickedness of the man arrive.  Not even in his blackest nights could the man dream up to what point was he going to degrade and to devalue.  But perhaps he neither knew how much force remains hidden in his interior to conquer dangers and to surpass tests. 

Every man, to be good, or to be maintained in good, needs aid in order to yield those latent talents that he possesses. It is certain that at the end is always the own liberty the one that has the last word, but it would be quite ingenuous to undervalue the enormous influence that the education has.  Therefore, to educate well the children in the family, to the students in the school or in the university, or any another task related to the education of the new generations should be considered as one of the pledges of more significance and responsibility in any society that really thinks in its future. 

To transmit the scientific or economic progress is relatively easy, but to transmit the moral progresses will always be difficult, since they require personal assimilation and practical employment.  As it has been written by Leonardo Polo, "without habits there is not education, only there is illustration".  It is indispensable, therefore, the personal effort by acquiring those habits.  And that will turn out to be costly always, in any place or epoch.  It is a personal progress that lasts the entire life and of which depends to a large extent the success in the way we live. 

2.  To see in others our defects

A professor related it, of those that observe and that reflect.  The protagonist of the anecdote is a eight years old boy that was agitated in crying and defiance while his mother struggled to introduce him in the school bus.  With the aid of a discreet and politically incorrect spank, finally she got he entered in.  Once the boy was inside, something calmer, he was asked by the professor for the motive of his annoyance.  After some excuses, Guillermo -thus he was called- explained that his mother had not bought him the calendar of chocolate that he wanted, but another, in his opinion worse one. In front of his angry demand, looking that his mother went to change the calendar, she had the good sense to refuse his petition, and that was the reason of the anger of him. 

The professor tried to show to him that this was typical of a capricious boy, but Guillermo refused to accept it.  Suddenly, he had an inspiration:  "Then.., you want to be like Dudley, and that your mom treats you as the aunt Petunia?".  The boy opened the eyes a lot, he remained quiet an instant, as imagining something, and later his answer sounded high and forceful:  "¡No! ¡Never!". 

Any reader of Harry Potter will have understood immediately the reaction of Guillermo.  Nobody resulted more repulsive than the capricious cousin Dudley and nobody as unpleasant as his parents.  In the books of Harry Potter barely any direct moral recommendations are done, but the capricious and spoiled boys are unpleasant, and the envious and cruel ones turn out to be unpleasant and odious.  Harry Potter and their friends are wanted, they are respected, they study (more or less), and they get annoyed but they use to forgive between them.  The large Weasley family is nice and welcoming, and carries the narrowness without too many tragedies; they are the counterpoint of the odious family with which Guillermo wanted to have nothing to do. 

This anecdote is a good example of how there are occasions in which the best to notify the need to change oneself is to see our defects incarnate in another person.  Those defects, dispossessed of the indulgence with which we see them in ourselves, become for us much more alive, rougher, more unpleasant.  Contemplated with the objectivity that gives to see the things from outside, they seem us less logical, less excusable. 

To discover with clarity in ourselves something unpleasant is one of the large motors of the personal improvement.  The positive models have the force of the "I want to be like", but the negative models can also enclose a very important positive potentiality.  The aforesaid "I do not want to be like", expressed with firmness in front of  the alive image of the own defects reflected in another person, results at times the more efficient repulsive. 

We are so used to live together with the bad thing, small or large, that exists in us, that it is easy that we no longer be too much surprised of it.  Our defects have been born of small concessions to the selfishness, to the laziness, to the arrogance or to any vice like that.  By doing habitual those concessions, the defects are consolidated, they become chronic, and little by little our sensibility is put out and also our refusal in front of their objective ugliness.  That is why we need that something or someone awakes us of that lethargy.  If we do it, and if we have, besides, the necessary value to look at those defects face to face, and to call them for his name, already we will have traveled through the most difficult part of the road to conquer them.  That is why, the aid of someone from outside who makes us to see us loyally what we do not do well is one of the better signs of friendship and of affection that exist; and the receptiveness in the presence of  that aid, one of the better examples of intelligence and of sensibleness. 

All we have a notable and sharp insight facing the alien defects.  They are emphasized in front of our eyes with a scandalous clarity.  We would be able to advance a lot if each time that we observe in another person a defect we thought if also we have it, in greater or smaller degree.  To Guillermo, that mental exercise was very sound. 

3.  To become adult

And then an event of considerable importance happened to Emily.  Suddenly Emily realized who she was.  There was not clear motives to understand why it didn't had happened five years before or five years later; and it was neither easy to know why occurred to her exactly that afternoon. 

Each time that she moved an arm or a leg, this simple movement produced to her an impression of amusing surprise, observing the speed of her members obeying her orders.  The memory told her that always they had obeyed her, but she had never realized the surprising thing that it resulted. 

Each consideration came to her mind as a flash and without words.  When she was convinced of the amazing fact that she was "she", she began to calculate the reach that that discovery could have.  In the first place, why was owed that, among as much people as it could have been, she was exactly this specific person, Emily Bas-Thornton, born such year such among every year of every time, and inserted in this determined wrapping of meat?  Had she chosen that, or had God done it?

In second place, why had she not noticed this before?  She had lived in this way a lot of years and never before had she thought in it.  She had the same sensation that an individual that recalled suddenly at eleven o'clock at night, seated in her chair, that she had accepted an invitation to have a dinner that night.  How should I have been seated all the afternoon without being disturbed at all by any small worry?  How had she been able to pass so many years without noticing a so evident fact? 

The reflections of this protagonist of a novel of Richard Hughes bring to our consideration an important and interesting reality: each one of us is an unrepeatable human being, and we have a mission to comply, something that nobody can do for us, and besides in it is the key of our success in the life. 

It is not a matter of becoming visionaries neither in Quixotes of a strange mission; and is also certain that we can be happy of many ways; but we should not elude for laziness or selfishness those personal challenges that the life arises to each one of us.  To discover and to accept this is a sample of the true wake up to the adult stage. 

Many discover it in the adolescence, but others barely come to understand it never.  They are victims of a species of syndrome of Peter Pan by which their mind resists to become adult.  It costs to them to take the reins of their life.  It would be told that they see the dividing line that separates the youthfulness of the mature age -a line that seems to them a trench of unfathomable depth- and they seek some ford or bridge to cross it, after prowling it during months or years, but they not decide themselves to leave it behind in a bound.  The sad thing is that there is no delay to them in regretting the days of their youth and the way in which they have squandered them. 

All this is manifested with clarity in the immaturity of some married couples, which result not in a project between two adult and conscious human beings, but -as Susanna Tamaro has written- the flight to a dream of two children. 

Perhaps the education has a lot to see in this.  The fear to require in the parents; or that not to notify that the small infidelity of now conducts to the flagrant injustice of tomorrow; even not to speaking about the consequences, surely by fear to be accused of being a jinx; or not to stimulate the personal effort, in order not to disturb.  All those errors, if they aren't taken in time, they conduct to a sad and unconscious extension of the infancy, one of the large tragedies of our time, and that always finishes in a bitter awakening. 

4.  The force of the expectation

It was during the course 1968-69, in a school of California.  The Doctor Robert Rosenthal closed its briefcase and addressed himself to a group of professors that listened to him with attention:  "The results of the tests carried out do not leave place to doubts.  I am in conditions to assure you that this 20 per 100 of students that I have indicated to you have some intellectual abilities above normal".  The professors took good note of all that and they returned to their habitual work.  Eight months later, the final qualifications threw a forceful result: the performance of that group of theoretically more intelligent students was notoriously above the remainder. 

The anecdote, and its conclusion, seems obvious.  But there is a small detail:  Rosenthal had elected that 20 per 100 of students at random. 

The experiment of this professor of Harvard is enough known in the world of the education.  What had improved the performance of those students were not their natural aptitudes, but the high expectations of their professors and the greater attention that -perhaps unconsciously- all had dedicated to them.  At the same time, the own students, conscious that it was expected more from them, had strived more. 

The way in which we relate to the others, be students, children or collaborators, conditions enormously their personal performance.  The mere fact to know that someone expects a lot of us, and that trusts in that we will be capable of obtaining something -although they were capacities for which we are not really very endowed-, supposes a large stimulus and adds an energy that carries us to obtain superior goals. 

When one trusts in the people's potential of development, that relation transmits confidence and security, generates a special motivation to surpass obstacles and to succeed.  "Treat a person as he seems that is and will continue being like has always been.  Treat he as he can reach and he will become", said Goethe.  Against that is the easy resource to go to the sure thing, to count with the ones in which we have always counted, with probed results tested, attending above all the security and avoiding the complication that supposes the new task of discovering people, or of discovering new talents in the people that we already know.  That attitude can be due to the laziness, to the distrust or to the skepticism, but the consequences are almost always the frustration of numerous potentialities in the people. 

The image that each one has of him is, to a large extent, a reflection of what the others see in him.  Therefore, the expectations that we put in a person can be enough to change a lot that person, improving or getting worse his personal motivation.  Therefore one must distrust a little ours "teaching intuition", that at times boasts of premonitions or impressions of the type of "I know how a person is at first sight" or "I already see since the first moment who is worthy and who not" or other hurried judgments in which we attribute to a small data or to a hunch the value of a sentence, that later often it fulfils, not by our intuition but by the force of the prejudice. 

To help truly to the others one must learn to value to the people.  We are more transparent than we think, and therefore does not suffice with the strategy of simulate some expectations, but one must change his mind to see with better eyes to the others.  Because if a person tends to value in little to the others, he will tend to treat them with little consideration, to think badly of them, to speak badly of them and, at the end, to hamper that they develop the talent they have. 

5.  Intelligence guided intelligently

Generally, the problem of the majority of the people is not their lack resources.  Their main difficulty uses to be that they lack the necessary control on the personal resources that they already possess. 

Let´ s we consider a comparison.  The director of a movie, or of a television report, can obtain very different effects from a same reality that he is filming.  The angle and the movement of the camera, the type of background music and its volume, the color and the quality of the image, and so on, can create in the audience enormously different impressions.  There is a full collection of details that influence a lot in the feelings that a same reality can generate in whom experiences it or presences it. 

Something like this happens with the interior world of any person.  Depending on how the camera is used with which we observe what happens to us, or the music with which we accompany that look, or the dialogues that we establish in our interior, a same objective situation can generate in us very different subjective effects.  It can put us in the screen positive or negative ideas, favorable or unfavorable emotional conditions, encouraging or depressive arguments. 

Although perhaps it is a simplification, it can be told that there are two ways to live.  Or well it is allowed that the mind continues its course spontaneously in front of what ever happens to us, or well we opt for directing consciously our mental activity.  Those two styles correspond, by telling it in a simple way, to two levels of use of the intelligence: the simple intelligence and the intelligence guided intelligently.  The true intelligence -I ask excuses for the redundancy- is the second thing: to establish in our interior the emotional and intellectual styles that we consider better (or more adequate to our situation). 

All we have the experience of how the simple fact turns round a negative thought (whether it is envy, grudge, victimism, exasperated criticism, sadness, etc.) accentuates and amplifies our negative perceptions on the reality in question.  If we continue thus a little time, that interior dialogue finishes us carrying, by its own dynamics, to a situation in which probably the matter remain out of sensible proportion.  To what it is owed?  Without doubt it is owed, in a large extent, to the force of our mental images.  And those mental images were not at first, we have provided them.  We have been constructing a movie in which the image, the music and the dialogues have conducted us to a little real, negative emotional state and that can damage us enough.  Which is the solution?  Come to be the director of that movie, not a simple spectator of it. 

Have you felt some time tormented by an incessant interior dialogue, by one of those situations in which the mind revolves to great velocity and seems almost impossible to stop?  Many times our mind talks to it in a endless way, weighing pros and cons of an unimportant decision, seeking a new argument to give us the reason in an old discussion without importance, or accumulating wrongs on determined person to which perhaps we should treat with more affection and comprehension. 

Do an effort by taking you the command of that voice, of that music and of those images.  Do not let that your head becomes filled of recurrent ideas on your large qualities notified or inadvertent for the others, neither on your large limitations likewise notified or inadvertent for all, neither on the large defects or qualities of the others, what they have done to you or said to you or on what they didn't say. 

Do you speak yourself constantly with a complaining or sad or bitter tone of voice?  Try to do it with a more positive and happier, more cordial tone.  Think also if you speak with a irritated tone of voice or if it is stimulant.  Think if you treat yourself with the affection and the comprehension, and also the demand, with which you should treat any friend to whom you truly appreciate and to whom you want to help to improve. 

6.  Intelligent reactions

A day, the donkey of a villager dropped in a well.  The poor animal was braying with bitterness during hours, while his owner sought vainly a solution.  A pair of days passed, and finally, the man desperate due to the lack of remedy for that misfortune. He thought that, as the well was almost dry, and the donkey was already very old, really would not be worthy to remove him, and would be better to bury him there.  He asked to some neighbors that came to help him.  Each one of them got a shovel and they began to throw land in the well, in the middle of a great desolation.  The donkey noted immediately what was happening and brayed then with greater bitterness. 

A little later, everybody stopped listening to his pitiful moans.  The peasants thought that the poor donkey should be already suffocated and covered with land.  Then, the owner showed up in the well, with a fearful and sad look, and he saw something that left him amazed.  With each shovelful, the donkey did something very intelligent: was shaken the land and stepped on it.  He had already climbed more than two meters and he was quite up.  He did it all in complete silence and absorbed in his task.  The peasants were filled with courage and they continued throwing land, until the donkey arrived at the surface, gave a leap and left it trotting peacefully. 

To carry a difficult life, or to have misfortunes more or less serious, is something that happens to everybody.  The life, at times, seems that imprisons us as in the bottom of a well, and that even it throws us land on our top.  In front of that, there are intelligent ways to react, like that donkey did, that of what it seemed his prison, he knew how to do his last hope of salvation; and other styles that are rather the opposite, own of people that do not know how to take a profit from their own resources and that, on the other hand, they dominate what would be able to be called "the art to embitter the own life". 

There is who has himself accustomed to leave his mind to digress through the past to become an inexhaustible source of bitterness.  They see their youthfulness as a gold age lost for ever, what provides them a permanent reserve of frustration and, above all, it causes them to think little in the present.  Their suppositions on the future are likewise sad and somber, and that facilitates them to find motives to abandon the majority of the reasonable efforts to improve the things.  They are quite given to victimism, to blame the others, or to the society, or to their friends or relatives or to whatever other thing, which spoils all their efforts.  But almost always the solution to their problems seems to be outside of their reach.  They think badly of the others, and they conduct themselves as if they could read with great clairvoyance the thoughts of the others; when, in reality, they succeed few times (even thus, they will continue considering ingenuous to the ones that have a more positive vision of the people or of the situations).  Also they show a surprising capacity to see fulfilled their black prophecies (they do enough so that thus it would be), and in the personal contact they are susceptible and unpredictable, of those that tell you something and it is difficult to know if they say it as a joke or seriously, but what it is sure is that later they will reproach you that you take as a joke the serious things or that you have no sense of humor. 

All we have misfortunes, every day.  The key is how we react in front of them.  Of that depends in good part our quality of life and that of the others to which we relate. 

7.  Happiness and money

In an interview to the multimillionaire Barbara Hutton, a journalist addressed to her beginning with the typical set expression:  "Although we know that the money does not give the happiness, tell us, please…".  She didn't leave him to finish the phrase:  "Come on, young, but, who has said you that foolishness?" 

Although there are lots of popular sayings that maintain that the money doesn't assure anything, it is frequent to see that, then, in the practical life are few the ones that believed it.  The answer of that woman to the interviewer, who was embarrassed, is a good example of it. 

It is evident that a person with such a fortune would receive as a catastrophe a deterioration of her economic situation.  The same as a beggar would receive with great satisfaction any important improvement in his standard of living. 

Does the money influences a lot, then, in the happiness?  During more than ten years, a large American team of investigators directed by David Myers and Ed Diener had tried to throw some new light on this question through extensive statistical studies. 

Since the beginning they were proposed not to be set only in the subjective sensations of happiness that had the interviewed, but also in the judgment that they deserved to the others.  This focus facilitated to them one of their first conclusions: almost all the ones that felt happy were also seen thus to the eyes of their more intimate friends, to the eyes of their relatives and to the ones of the investigators that interviewed them. 

Soon they verified also, with certain amazement that the personal impression of happiness is distributed of quite a homogeneous way in almost all the ages, economic income levels or academic qualification, and it is neither affected in a significant way by the race or the sex.  For example, they only founded a certain relation between economic incomes and sensation of happiness in some poor countries, like the India or Bangladesh; in the other cases, it was used to be even slightly more frequent the contrary thing. 

The investigation concluded indicating a series of characteristics of the character that seem common to almost all the people that feel happy: the happy person is cordial and optimistic, he has a high control on himself, possesses a deep ethical sense and enjoys a high self-esteem.  Although it is difficult to know in what measure those characteristics of the character contribute to the happiness or are rather a part of its effects, we can conclude with Myers and Diener in emphasizing the great importance that for all has the personal improvement. 

Although the illusion -legitimate- of many people is to win a price in the lottery, the reality is that later it is verified that those to who has touched are not, little time after, happier than before.  Another illustrative fact is that the surveys carried out in countries in phases of great economic growth do neither offer the differences expected in the feeling of subjective welfare of the population. 

It would be able to be told that, once they have resolved their basic needs, each one tends to be adapted to his economic level, and that their happiness barely depends on the level in which each one is situated.  It is true that an improvement of the economic level uses to result in the feeling of happiness, but that impression uses to be of short duration.  In an analogous way, a deterioration of that level uses to produce a certain unhappiness (in that case, besides, the effects are used to be something more lasting), but with the time it is usually accepted and later on come to recognize and to enjoy what before barely was valued itself. 

In general, the money does not seem to collaborate a lot to feel happy in a stable way.  Neither the fame uses to contribute a lot by itself (moreover, one must be very mature emotionally to know to digest of adequate form the praise).  To have a great talent, or to be very healthy, or to have a great physical attractiveness, can neither be considered as the axis of the happiness: undoubtedly they can favor it, and to create a favorable climate to feel happy, but it is not always thus, far from it. 

As Seneca wrote, "all the men want to be happy; the difficult thing is to know what does mean "happy life".  One must succeed in that search, because who does not, lives expecting a tomorrow that never arrives. 

8.  The attraction of the virtue and of the goodness

Sometimes, one tends in his interior to label as unpleasant, for example, determined people or determined tasks or determined aspects related to the improvement of the character, and does not realize up to what point those mental bonds that he has gone establishing in his mind, in more or less conscious way damage him. 

In front of possible concrete points of personal improvement that we notify in our life (we see, for example, that we should be more patient, or less egoist, more tidy, less irascible, or the like), it is frequent that we tend to see those objectives as a very distant ones or like something little accessible to our forces.  We see them perhaps as attractive advances, yes, but that to reach them would require such an effort that only to think in it already produces in us a deep refusal.  We perceive it as somewhat painful and exhausting, which would carry us to a way of life of too much tension. 

Nevertheless, the personal improvement does not suppose neither requires that.  At least usually has no reason to be presented thus.  The advance on the road of the personal improvement should be understood and be undertaken, more like a process of liberation.  A gradual progress takes place that gets us free, day by day, of the ballast of our defects.  Not an exhausting ascent to an endless port of mountain, but a progressive relief of the load of our errors, a gradual relief of the cause of our main problems.  Therefore, although always there will be also backward movements, small or large, if we achieve as a group to improve, we will find us each time with more autonomy, we will advance with more ease and we will feel better.  Each man should acquire the self-control, and that is the itinerary of what Aristotle began to call virtue: the happiness will come like a fruit of a life according to the virtue. 

If we would put more attention, for example, in the positive aspects of a determined person, or in the challenge that supposes to have ordered the cabinet or the office, or even in the exciting thing that can come to be, so much for a man as for a woman, to cook, to maintain cleaned the house or to educate the children. .., if we endeavor for seeing these things thus, the road is made a lot more passable. 

It would be able to be objected that this is not difficult to do…, but only for some minutes, or even some days.  But, how to impede that after a little time we return to do it as before?  I can strive, for example in order to vary my humor during a while, that is not a little thing, but…  How maintain me thus and to become to be a long lasting good mood person? 

A way to achieve is to try to change the road; it is to be endeavored in changing the image that is presented to us in the mind when we think about those things.  For example, instead of representing in the imagination the tempting thing that results what you should not eat or not drink or not to do, try to think about the attractive and liberating that results to be a honest and healthy person, and to achieve that those representations take a greater space in your imagination. 

Or if you are invaded by thoughts related to the selfishness, the laziness or the lie, you try to stir up the image to be a loyal, sincere, diligent, and generous person, and enjoy a little in the contemplation of those values and those virtues that you should desire to see in your life.  Even, if you want, consider also the unpleasant thing that would result if you get converted little by little in an egoist, lazy or disloyal person, and you can compare an image with the other. 

Is this important?  I think that yes.  If a person manages to form an attractive idea of the virtues that he desires to acquire, and he tries to have those ideas well present, it is a lot easier than he comes to possess those virtues.  Thus he will achieve, besides, that the way comes to be less arduous and more satisfactory.  On the contrary, if he constantly thinks in the attractiveness of the vices that he desires to avoid (a creeping and poor attraction, but that always exists, and whose force never should be underestimated), it is more probable that the undeniable charm that always have those errors do it difficult to manage the separation of them. 

Therefore, to deepen in the attractive of the goodness, to represent it in our interior as somewhat attractive, happy and motivating, is something a lot more important than seems.  Many times, the processes of improvement become ineffective simply because the image of what one has been proposed to reach is not enough alluring or desirable. 

9.  The risk of the slowness

There are people that one day turn out well ten things and only one badly, and they arrive at their home in an estate of total discouragement.  Why?  Because they permit that this small thing that resulted badly remains floating in their memory a negative image that fills up almost completely the "screen" of their mind.  He has passed in that day for many positive things, but he has the ability -the misfortune- of consider it barely.  It is as if all the positive things remained immediately cornered in their memory.  Only the negative ones remain well engraved.  The rest pass and in little time they remain reduced to distant, gray, blurry images, as old pale photos. 

Sometimes, for example, a friendship, or a marriage, or a professional relation is deteriorated simply because one tends to recall and to store unpleasant experiences suffered in the relation with that person, while the pleasant immediately lose relief in the memory. 

Why does this happen?  Perhaps it is because what produces displeasure is very important to us, although it could be foolishness.  For example, the form that has to eat, or the disorderly form that leaves what he uses, or loses the things, or speaks in a tone that turns out to be unpleasant to the others.  Or that maybe has left to have determined deference with us.  Or something that he repeats to us, that was said in a moment of annoyance and that we are fed up with that recall.  Or perhaps it happens the other way round, and we are the ones that recall time and again that occasion in which we felt so uncomfortable and offended. 

The list of examples could be endless.  But, although all those negative things could be certain and objective -they do not use to be thus too much-, that way to recall them and to have them present does not help in nothing to resolve the things.  Besides, we know that it could also be able to be done another very long list of positive examples, of so many pleasant things that are used to remain into oblivion.  All would be very different if we endeavored in having them more present, and they we tried to generate the necessary circumstances so that they can be repeated. 

Therefore it is a good thing to be asked from time to time:  "If I continue turning over these ideas in this manner…, where does this will carry to me?  What I´ m going to obtain?  Toward where does it conduct me?  Toward where do I want to go?"  A person should be capable of taking occasionally a little distance on himself, and to analyze his feelings as if he was contemplating another person, for thus act on them.  Otherwise, he will turn out to be enormously vulnerable in front of the ups and downs of his emotional states. 

"I agree -it could be able to be objected-, it is necessary not to get muddied in the bad memories, yes…  But how?, because it is not so simple, it is not easy to change the way we act, a lot of time and effort is needed…".  It is true; I am not going to deny it.  But it does neither have to be always thus.  It is possible to change in little time.  Many times it is better understood a thing in a lightning of clarity that after years of pedaling. 

Sometimes, the processes of personal improvement fail because they go so slow and lazy that the change barely is seen to arrive, and then one is tired immediately.  It is as if we would see a movie contemplating a shot now, another shot after, and a third shot a while later. 

Acting in this way, it is difficult to get something clear.  But the fault would not be of the movie, because with that way to see it we cannot know if it is good or it is bad.  One must take it with its pace, and then you get an idea of the argument and of the personages, of the emotions that the movie stirs up, and then it grasps our attention, and seeing it we enjoy at the same time that we note that it enriches us.  In the same way, if in the personal improvement you achieve a faster pace, then you get an idea of what you earn, and of what still you can gain, and you enjoy with it, and that also encourages you to continue ahead in that desire. 

10.  Sense of humor

Jerry was the director of a restaurant in a small city of the U.S.  Always he was in a good mood and he had somewhat positive to say.  He was a natural-born motivator.  For two times, when he changed of work, several of his employees were impelled in continuing with him where he went to work.  If a worker had a bad day, Jerry always was there, making him to see the positive side of the situation. 

The way he was caused curiosity, so a day they asked him:  "I cannot explain it to me.  It is impossible to be positive always, without interruption.  How do you do it?"  Jerry answered:  "Always I tell to me, you have two options, I can elect to be in a good mood or in a bad mood.  And always I elect to be in a good mood.  Each time that something bad occurs, I can elect among the role of victim or the role of learning something of that.  And I try to elect to learn something of that.  Each time that I hear someone complaining, I can elect among adding me to his laments or to set me in the positive side of the life, and always I choose to set me in the positive side of the life". 

"But always it is not so easy", they objected him.  "It is neither so difficult", answered Jerry.  "The life is a constant election.  Each situation is an election.  You choose how to react in front of the situations.  You choose how it is going to affect the people to your humor.  You choose to be of good or of bad mood.  It is your election to decide how you live your own life." 

Time later, Jerry was a victim of a robbery.  He had forgotten to lock the rear door of the restaurant while he did the cash balance of the day, and two armed men entered.  He tried to open the safe box, but with the agitation the combination failed.  The robbers even got more nervous than he, and they lately fired him.  Fortunately, he was carried immediately to the hospital, and after a long operation and several weeks of convalescence, Jerry received the hospital discharge. 

After coming back to home, a neighbor asked him what had come to his mind when the robbery occurred.  "The first thing in which I thought was that I should have closed well the door.  Then, after they shot me, when I was laid out on the ground, I recalled that I had two options: I could elect to live or I could elect to die.  And I chose to live.  The stretcher-bearers were some nice guys.  They encouraged me.  They told me that I was going to recover well.  But, when they put me in the room and I saw the faces of the doctors and nurses, while they explored me, they frightened me really.  In their eyes I read: "He is a dead man".  Then I thought that I had to pass to the action." 

"What did you do?" they asked him.  "Good, there was a nurse that asked me shouting if I was allergic to something.  ¡Yes! I answered her as I was able.  A large silence became.  They expected that I continued.  I caught air again and I continued:  "Yes, I have allergy…  to the bullets!"  After the laughter of all, I told them:  "I want to live.  So, please, do make the possible things that you can as soon as possible". 

Jerry thinks that he lived thanks to the doctors and nurses, but also thanks to his attitude.  You can elect each day if you are going to face the life with desire or you are going to face the life embittered.  The only thing entirely yours, that nobody can control or to assume in your place, is your attitude.  Thus, if you realize this, all the other aspects of the life become much easier. 

The history of Jerry concludes here.  It is perhaps a little simple, but suggests an important idea.  All we know people that, with only their presence, they radiate positive feelings.  Their attitude is optimist, courageous, hopeful.  They possess as a species of magnetic field that orients those that surround them, which perhaps are weaker or more negative.  They are deactivators of agitations and quarrels.  When they face a difficult situation, they use to be serene, conciliatory, coordinators. 

They use to be people that have managed to learn of their own experiences, so much of the refusals as of the positive ones.  They believe in the others.  They do not react disproportionate in front of their defects neither in front of the criticism or the difficulties.  They do not feel satisfied when they discover the errors and weaknesses of the others (and that not because they are ingenuous, but because they also see those errors, but they know that with their attitude they can cause to improve or to reinforce their conduct).  They try not to label neither to prejudge to the people, but to discover the positive values that there are in every person.  They get gratitude and appreciation.  They are not envious.  They are you grateful.  They tend, almost naturally, to forgive and to forget the offenses that they receive.  They look after the way to improve their education.  They read, they listen, they possess eagerness to know things, interests them what interests to whom surround them.  In short all a worthy attitude to be imitated in our life.