"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The world, being the smart world it is, recognizes that we want to be better and offers us a myriad of ways it can help. The government sells us hope comes in the form of a ten buck lottery ticket because someone has to win, after all. Manufacturers tell us their products can help us be better; with fuller hair or shinier teeth or a new do-hickey that does things you really need to have done. We're told we can easily be a bit more like those icons that the fashion and entertainment industry sets up before us as examples of beauty, talent and success even though every day we're a little older, a little uglier and most likely, with inflation, taxes and service fees, a little poorer. With a gusto that would rival a nagging mother, we're urged to use services and buy products that we must continue buying and using (with a nod to planned obsolescence) because being better is something that we need to continuously work on. Otherwise what good are we? What chance do we have at being better if we don't? Enter the self-styled gurus seemingly popping out of every crevice and orifice to give us advice and guidance on everything from what to eat to what to think – all for the price of a book, a seminar, an inspirational tape. Ah, it's a wonderful world we live in.
Marketers spend whole careers pointing out to people how their product is better than the competition's. Politicians take great glee in telling us how they're making our world a better one to live in. Political parties make hay by proclaiming themselves vastly better for us than other parties. Religions preach that their brand of devotion is better than all the others. Those around us daily spend time and money to demonstrate how their lives, their skills, their cars or their weedless, manicured yards are better. And all that is okay. Because it's written somewhere that we are guaranteed the right to be better than someone else.
At the end of the day we all know that our being better is not dependent on what we buy or who we wear or whether we win a lottery, travel south every winter or stock our garage with vintage autos. We know it's an inward glow we give to ourselves that allows for positive thought. Being better is different for each one of us and often happens in baby steps. Like a hyperactive child being able to sit still for four minutes today instead of three yesterday. Or having a puppy realize that they should go outside to do their business after weeks of house training. Or simply being able to pay off another fifty bucks on the old credit card. Or getting back in touch with someone and hearing their smile.
And if we can't see anything getting better today that's okay too, because there's always tomorrow and until then we can rely on that old refrain, "Things could always be worse!"