"The Almighty conceived the cactus plant. If God would choose a plant to represent him, I think he would choose of all plants the cactus. The cactus has all the blessings he tried, but mostly failed, to give to man. Let me tell you how. It has humility but it is not submissive. It grows where no other plant will grow. It does not complain when the sun bakes its back, or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns in in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty. When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come. In good times and in bad it will still flower. It protects itself against danger, but it harms no other plant. It adapts itself perfectly to almost any environment. It has patience and enjoys solitude...[it is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.]"
Other than making me want to start a cactus garden, this quote from the character of Doc in Bryce Courtney's "The Power of One," gives one hell of a blue-print to pattern a life after. Respecting everyone while fearing no one is the only way to meet people on equal and amicable terms. In any situation where one or the other party is intimidated by the other, the response cannot be genuine. If I fear you, I will tailor my response to engender a favorable impression. Only by respecting you and seeing you as an equal can my response be perfectly honest. Whether you "like" me or not is of no concern. Certainly I want to be liked, but if I present my authentic self and you do the same, we do not need to be overly concerned about our effect on each other.
Likewise, complaining serves nothing. The great man is the same under difficult circumstances as he is in times of prosperity. A certain degree of stoicism could benefit us all. Preparing for bad times during good times is always a good practice. My needs should stay close to the same, even if I get a raise at work. If I am living paycheck to paycheck at $30,000 a year, I certainly should not be when my income rises to $50,000.
Enjoying solitude is important, as this is when we sharpen ourselves. I become more self-aware both in public and in private, but in privacy I can consider and weigh my responses, and hopefully learn from them.
I will enjoy the good, and I will survive the bad without complaint.