Tuesday, March 10, 2009


As a writer, I’ve always been fascinated by words and the potency of their impact. Two words I’ve come across a lot recently are “languish” and “flourish”.
In fact, most people can be divided into those two categories--those who languish and those who flourish. Almost all of us have experienced both, but what matters is how long you spend in those very specific states of existence. Let’s look at the definitions.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary says
languish means:
to be or become feeble. 
to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality.
to become dispirited, to suffer neglect.
to assume an expression of grief or emotion appealing for sympathy.

The Free Dictionary adds:
to exist or continue in miserable or disheartening conditions.
to remain unattended or neglected.
to become downcast or pine away in longing.

And finally, Wiktionary uses the word in a sentence:
“He languished in prison for years.” 
Which is exactly how I saw it used recently.

Those of you who read some of my earlier blogs and know my history know, I hope, that I did no such thing. As I’ve written, I did manage to wake up each morning in the state Norman Cousins described to me, “robust expectations.” So I think you can safely say I flourished.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary says for
to grow luxuriantly, to achieve success.
to be in a state of activity or production.

The Free Dictionary says:
thrive, to do or fare well.

Wiktionary adds to all that:
to be in a period of greatest influence.

So here’s my point. Everything you do, say, feel, believe, and project out about yourself fits into these two categories--
Flourish or Languish. Take your current work, what you do to support yourself. Is it something that allows you to grow luxuriantly, to be in a state of activity or production--are you thriving and prospering? In other words, do you have a sense of forward momentum about the work you do? Are you passionate about it? Are you having fun doing it? I think this would be a good spot to mention my three criteria for successful work, that it should bring you as much PLEASURE, PROFIT, KNOWLEDGE as possible. Simply put, Are You Flourishing?

And you can use the same filter to look at your health, your relationships, and every other aspect of your life.

On the other hand, do you feel miserable or disheartened and neglected in your work? Do you have low energy when doing it? Do you complain a lot about various aspects of what you do for a living?

And right here I’ll mention a new book I just received. Egbert Sukop got in touch with me through this blog and let me know that
MONEYLOVE was very impactful for him and helped inspire him to write his first book. He is a provocative philosopher and quite a pessimist. The new book is titled, HOW TO BETTER HATE YOUR JOB. I like the opening line a lot:

“Today I am worse than I will be tomorrow.” Which Egbert calls “the unwritten tenet of self-improvement.” I would say that “flourishing” is about experiencing tomorrow as always better than yesterday, a sense you are moving forward. Egbert’s book is a fun read--I’m just starting it but can tell by quickly zipping through. It can be shocking and entertaining to see him shooting down a lot of popular concepts. I don’t recommend it if you are languishing, however, as it just might put you over the edge in your miserable, depressed state.

The thing I find interesting about any attempt to put a label on life is that it's bound (as in “boundary”) to limit our thinking--on the other hand, in a temporary exploration, it can be useful. It can teach us a lot about ourselves to make a list of those things in our life that are
FLOURISHING and those things that are LANGUISHING. And one of the things we can discover is which aspects of our life we are not clear about, that we cannot put into either category.

Our economy is now said to be
LANGUISHING, but for some people it is
FLOURISHING. This is certainly true for the dark chocolate business with sales up 40% as most other things are going down the toilet. But, as I will write about in a whole chapter on the business of chocolate in my next book on the health benefits of dark chocolate, this was also true during The Great Depression. Chocolate boomed. Talk about a win-win situation. People reach for chocolate when they are
LANGUISHING or depressed--and they’ll give up big ticket luxuries before they’ll give up their gourmet chocolate treats. And people reach for chocolate when they are FLOURISHING, to celebrate success, to celebrate love--even when it’s not Valentine’s Day. A billion people ate chocolate today. It’s not always healthy chocolate, but they are already sold on the product and just have to be shown there’s a tastier, healthier version now available.

Chocolate is no longer a Guilty Pleasure. In olden days (like the 1980s) it was considered bad stuff--causing obesity, diabetes, even acne. Now healthy dark chocolate is known to help all those conditions. What a turn-around! This is why I reserved a new domain name for my new website about this product. It is still in the development stage, but a lot of stuff is ready for viewing and you can check it out at:
That’s right--Unguilty Pleasures. In fact, instead of feeling guilty about consuming healthy dark chocolate, you can feel proud you have the good sense to do so. It could just as easily be called a Proud Pleasure. No wonder this business is flourishing, not languishing.

By the way, I am still putting together a team of prosperous dark chocolate specialists who I intend to help prosper using my MONEYLOVE strategies in conjunction with this fun home-based networking adventure. The working title of my follow-up book will be TEN PEOPLE I HELPED MAKE RICH IN SPITE OF THEMSELVES. Find out more by getting in touch with me at jerrygillies@gmail.com, or that new website, www.UnguiltyPleasures.net  
Join the fun and profit!

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