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Cultivate your ESP - it’s not that ESP you know

We're bombarded with recipes for happiness: Get rich! Rise to the top! Fill your life with endless fun! Sounds compelling, right? This is the MP3 formula Thomas Aquinas warns about – money, power, prestige, and pleasure. They're idols, promising fulfillment, but ultimately leaving us empty.


On the other side, there's Arthur C. Brooks’ ESP:


Enjoyment: Moments of pure presence in an activity - with others.


Satisfaction: Contentment, not tied to achievement, but from knowing we're living according to our values.


Purpose: Feeling part of something greater than ourselves, giving our lives a sense of direction and meaning.


The MP3 path isn't inherently bad. Money is needed for survival, healthy ambition drives us, and we deserve pleasure! The problem? Thinking they're THE source of lasting happiness.

Money is always wanting more, power often comes at another's expense, prestige fades. When based on those idols, even fun becomes shallow, a constant chase for that next high. It's the treadmill of dissatisfaction.


ESP, however, leads to deeper fulfillment. When work doesn't define us, but offers satisfaction in a job well done, that endures beyond our title. Purpose may involve grand deeds, or acts of quiet service, but either way, the ego retreats, replaced by a sense of connection.


Here's where it gets tricky: MP3 has immediate payoffs, while ESP takes cultivation. But imagine this: if a tiny taste of enjoyment or a moment of true connection leads to such happiness, then developing the capacity for them becomes a quest worth pursuing. It's not just about a good day, but building a life of deep well-being.


The takeaway? Audit your own life. Where are you putting most of your effort? Are you chasing MP3 illusions? Can you create more space for ESP to flourish? This isn't an all-or-nothing deal, but a mindful shift. Small investments in joy, meaning, and contribution could transform the very texture of our days.


Isn't that a form of doing well in life that's far more durable?


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