If you have a scientific mind like I do, you may have struggled with Christianity because you couldn’t reconcile certain things in the Bible. But I’m not here today to prove or disprove the Bible. What I am going to share with you are 3 Christian Principles that modern day self-help books write about, but weirdly enough, were also written 2000 years ago.
A lot of self-help books today tell us that to be happy we need gratitude. This is also reiterated by Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, and Tony Robbins who also claim the same thing. I mean, this makes sense… To live a happier life, you need to be grateful and appreciate what you have, which allows us to be pleased with our current state.
But is that it?
Christianity tells us why we should be grateful and puts it into a deeper perspective than just to be happy. I’ll give you an example.
Imagine in one scenario, both your parents died before you could even know them and left no communication contact whatsoever. In the second scenario, same thing, but they left you a diary with their notes and principles for you. They outline the struggles you will face, the description of human nature, an account of your parent’s nature, and the tremendous sacrifices they had to make in order for you to live and prosper.
In which life would you live a life with more gratitude?
Whether you believe in the story or not, at least you can see the perspective of gratitude from Christianity’s lens with greater meaning and purpose. If you are struggling with gratitude, like I tend to do, maybe instead of just appreciating the world in a generic sense, it might help to be thankful to someone or something, e.g. God (or your parents).
Ego and Humility
Today’s books on ego may give personal life examples of how their ego affected their careers or how having humility is important for success. To be successful, you need to be humble or people won’t garner your respect. Ryan Holiday’s “Ego is the Enemy” accounts for his rise and fall in the corporate world due to ego. Today, he is the leading voice of revisiting the old Greek philosophy of Stoicism. I won’t get into that, but yeah Google it.
The Bible is littered with stories and commands for you to be humble. Ever heard the phrase, “Be humble, or be humbled”? It derived from the Bible actually…
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
With the Bible, they reveal humility in two ways (in my opinion).
One, there are multitude of stories that showcase humility in humanity and how those perceived as weak in society go on to do miraculous things. Not the kings, the royal, the priests. It is the weak, the poor, and those who are strong in the mind and heart (faith) that prevail.
Heck, if you look at Jesus himself, he was the son of God, but was born in a manger, lived as a carpenter, and helped those that were poor, sick, and ill. His life and the stories shared are a reflection of humility and how we should live our lives. You went to XYZ school and now you work at XYZ corporation? Yeah doesn’t matter, be humble.
The second part is through our insignificance relative to God. It is human nature to forget about humility once you start getting some success and momentum. Just look at Justin Beiber, his ego skyrocketed but he doesn’t have anyone or anything to keep him grounded. So how do you keep your ego in check once you attain massive success?
In Christianity, you gain perspective on how minuscule your achievements are relative to God which keeps your ego in check. Even if you do get successes, the glory is always put to God for those successes. Furthermore, the Bible states the worldly successes aren’t significant in the first place, which helps you detach your worldly success with your self-worth.
Marketing today is all about giving value. Gary Vaynerchuk writes this concept in his books and plethora of YouTube videos. Basically, you need to give more than you receive to win clients and customers. He has a 51%/49% rule that he employs which states that at minimum, you give 1% more into a relationship than you receive.
The reason for this? Leverage. You gain leverage until you want to pitch them into a purchase later. You provide good content and connect with your customers without any expectation for sales, until later. With social media nowadays, everyone seems to be their own content producer.
In the Bible, God tells us to give to him and to others as much as we can.
“My cup runneth over”
Translates to: I have more than enough for my needs. Giving means you aren’t expecting anything in return because your cup is already full. Yes, no expectation. Not manipulation for a future transaction. Give just because you want to and not as a content marketing plan.
“Love your neighbor as yourself”
I’m sure you heard of the phrase “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself”. Well, it’s right there in Matthew. You need to love your neighbor AS yourself. So how much you love yourself is the baseline for the love you share to others, i.e. your cup needs to be full first. Your cup could be anything:
- Doing stuff you like
- Working out
- Eating well
- Financial independence
If your cup isn’t already full, you will be in a codependent relationship which just doesn’t work. You need to have harmony in yourself first before you share a relationship.
I grew up in a Christian environment, but wrestled with certain things in the Bible and read books such as The Case for a Creator and The Case for Christ to try and reconcile these on my own. There are a million books and videos out there for how to have better relationships, be a better person, or to live a happier life.
But the important thing is for you to reason everything within your own mind and heart. Don’t take things for granted, but figure things out using your own accord. Then you can defend your thoughts and have your own reasons for why you believe in what you believe. Whether its Stoicism, Christianity, or The Simulation Hypothesis; Just have an open mind and take action.