A thin line between good and bad quality of life

13 minutes reading time

There is a thin line in life – not only between love and hate, as the most known saying goes, but also in many other aspects that determine your happiness and quality of life at its core.

In order to live the best life possible, the good life, you want to be on the right side of the thin lines.

Interestingly, the side of the thin line you stand on is more or less determined by how well you can handle your emotions and how much you think before you act.

If you want to be on the right side, you have to learn to use your brain and you have to learn to manage your emotions. You can’t be on the right side of the lines, if you are emotionally immature person.

You have to become a general of your own life, not only a warrior. Someone who has a superior life strategy and knows how to make data-driven decisions and, even more, trains the inner emotional beast to get the best possible outcome out of every situation.

You can’t follow only your brains or only your heart, you need to pay attention to both. Once you stop listening to one of them, you cross the line and go to the dark side. It’s especially hard to listen to your emotions in the right kind of way.

A thin line

Your emotions are the ones fueling your visions, passions and whys; they’re like a feedback mechanism telling you whether you’re following your true north. But emotions also have no shape and can quickly start running all over the place like a headless chicken.

When you’re drunk on emotion (hate, love or any other severe feeling), your reality becomes distorted and you start making bad decisions. You ignoring your emotions in any way can only cause them to become stronger. Like a small cute monster that turns into an indocile one. And then you get pushed on the wrong side of the thin lines.

That’s why you need to listen to your emotions, but also train them not to mislead you when you have to make tough rational strategic decisions; decisions that will lead you closer to your goals, even when it emotionally seems impossible to get there.

Without training your inner beast, you can never be happy in life. Mind and heart must work together in a well-coordinated tandem.

Training your inner beast is what determines the side of the thin line you stand on. Even though it’s a thin line, standing on one or the other side makes a huge difference in how you live your life. A huge difference – what you get out of life and what you leave behind.

Genius = Happiness Madman
Facing bad fears Making stupid decisions
Being a good person, knowing the limits Buying attention by being a good person
Having a healthy limit regarding money Being a greedy monster
Mindfully centered Self-castrated vague person
A healthy assertive person Overly aggressive person
Living a life of love Living a life of hate

A thin line between courage and stupidity

You ruin your life by making one big stupid decision or several small stupid decisions. A stupid decision, big or small, is something that irreparably harms your quality of life and your capacity to achieve your goals and dreams.

If you want to live a successful life, you simply can’t afford a great number of stupid decisions. Stupid choices will only bring real misery into your life.

Ironically, people often confuse stupid decisions with courage. Usually because their ego is at stake or emotions are running too high.

You marry someone only for their looks. You take too much debt to buy things you can’t really afford to show off. You drive drunk or race cars on the street, endangering others. You jump off the cliff without knowing how deep the water is. You get into a fight. You trash talk your boss. You have unprotected sex with a stranger. Whatever.

You want to prove yourself, you want to show that you’re better, you want to be the man; and you may have won many times in such a situation with such stupid behavior.

But then things don’t turn out as planned only once. And you can destroy the quality of your life with one single move; sometimes even permanently.

You don’t want to lock yourself in a safe. But you also don’t want to make stupid decisions.

So make sure you don’t make any stupid, irrational decisions. No dangerous pissing contents will bring you long-term happiness.

Always think twice about the short and long-term impact that your decision will have on your life. No matter how drunk you are.

On the other hand, you don’t want to be a wussy, suffering from a victim mindset. You don’t want to just bitch, whine and complain how hard life is without doing anything. You don’t want to be a passive player of life. Just a reactive one.

You want to be bold and courageous. You want to have your own goals. You want to have your own dreams and fight for them; fight for them with all of your heart and brain, fight vigorously for what you deserve in life. That takes courage. But courage does not mean stupid decisions.

Fear can be a good compass. Fear shows where you have to grow in life. But you have to distinguish bad fear from the good one.

Good fear is what prevents you from making a stupid decision. Bad fear only keeps you in an emotional cage. Locked. “Safe”. Not living life.

In the same way, you need experience in life. Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. But bad decisions and validated learning are not the same as stupid decisions.

You make mistakes when you learn how to drive. You learn so much when you start your own business based on calculated risks. But driving drunk is stupid. Texting while driving is stupid. Taking a big loan to start a risky business is stupid (in most cases).

A thin line between being a good person and buying attention with kindness

Being a good person means that you build your social reputation on prestige, not dominance. You use dominance only on rare occasions when it’s really necessary.

You are a loyal and honest friend, a gentleman that holds the door for the old lady. You have a lot of integrity and morals, and you try to make the right decision, even when your darkest desires are tested.

Nevertheless, you know you’re only human and can make mistakes from time to time. You have no problems saying you’re sorry and fixing the damage you’ve done to the highest possible extent. You don’t beat yourself up over and over again when you make an honest mistake.

Being an emotionally healthy good person also means that you know where to draw the line. You know you have to take care of yourself first if you want to give to others.

You know you must first have things in life before you can share them with people and the world in the next step, be it money, love or any other thing. You’re aware that being a good person means putting yourself first.

You should have no problem saying no when necessary. You should have no problem protecting yourself. You should have no problem standing up for yourself.

You should have no problem drawing the line. You should have no problem making money and providing value. And still staying a good person.

The most you can do for the world is to go home and love your family.

But being on the wrong side of a thin line as a good person means that you’re good to other people only to get attention.

You are a needy person, hoping deep down that others will take more care of you somehow, so you try to care for others as much as possible, even to the point when you are damaging yourself and others. You help them even if they don’t need or deserve help.

You’re being nice with a deep hope that people will finally realize how awesome and what a good person you are.

So you have a hard time saying no and setting strict boundaries. If you say no, you can only think of how that could backfire and hurt you. But when you don’t know where to draw the line, you aren’t a good person anymore. You’re an attention whore being used by others.

A thin line in this case is determined by having a center on yourself and not determining your self value based on the gratefulness of people you offer help to.

The side you stand on is determined by how strong your sense of self is and how aware you are of your own needs, making sure they’re met and that other people don’t exploit you.

A thin line between being greedy and protecting your material assets

A healthy assertive person strives to materially protect themselves. They strive to own (or rent) a home where they live, have a sound financial situation and aren’t drowning in debt.

That may mean owning a piece of land, having a few sound investments, an emergency fund for the rainy days etc. An emotionally healthy person has an emotionally healthy relationship with money and the material world.

Meditating in a forest and having nothing is not a solution for a happier life, it usually only shows that it’s just too painful for the person to deal with material things. They prefer to run away from the material world rather than embrace it.

The other side of the same coin is being too greedy. When you are greedy, you try to fill the emotional void with material assets.

For a happy life, you should deny neither the physical nor the spiritual world.

The only problem is that you can never really feel the void with material things. It’s like a barrel without a bottom.

You need more and more, no matter how much you have; and you submit all of your life decisions to one single thing – trying to fed yourself at least once. But it never happens.

Setting a healthy limit is the solution – how much you think you need in life in order to be happy defines the side of the thin line you stand on.

Having a healthy limit for how much you need puts you on one of the sides, either being a healthy assertive person materially or a greedy never satisfied monster.

Of course, if you are in business and your business is thriving, you can make a lot more money than you ever need. The key question then becomes: what do you do with all your money?

Even with billions of dollars, you may feel inadequate, hoping that you’ll make even more money and take all your material treasures with you once you pass away; or, much better, you can do good with your money, a lot of good things.

The healthy limit for how much you need doesn’t instigate that you shouldn’t be rich or enjoy material abundance.

The healthy limit only becomes visible when you have to make decisions for what you will do with your surpluses. Think Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Mark Zuckerberg.

Good vs bad

A thin line between mindfulness and self-castration

You can very easily mistake mindfulness (a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique) with self-castration.

If you don’t know how to assert yourself in the physical and real world, you may start to compensate by building a kinder world in your head. A soft and naïve world you can survive in.

A soft and naïve world built only in your head, where you don’t have to act, where you don’t have to face your problems and fight for love, money, health and happiness.

You may build a world in your head where everything is given to you, without even trying, and often even given to others, and then humankind can finally live in peace.

It may feel as if you’ve found your mindfulness, but that’s just fake mindfulness. It’s a fairytale. It’s running away from the real world.

It’s running away from facing all the challenges life has prepared for you. In the long term, it only means that you stifle your real nature. You don’t follow your true north and that brings you nothing but bitterness in life.

Real mindfulness comes from trusting yourself; asserting yourself; knowing that you are strong enough to face any challenge.

Real mindfulness comes from accepting world as it is; and while doing that, trying to make it a better place with your thoughts and actions. But first accepting it as it is, with all its pluses and minuses. And there are many minuses.

Real mindfulness comes from properly managing your thoughts, training your inner emotional beast, taking care of your health, following your true north and being a proactive not reactive person.

Real mindfulness comes from becoming the best version of yourself and being aware of the value you can provide. Real mindfulness comes when you always give 110 % from yourself and you can accept any outcome.

Meditation, abundance mindset, emotional intelligence and having a center on yourself are all the tools that can help you with real mindfulness.

The goal of these tools is not to run away, to hide in your own little dream world, but to face the challenges of the world fiercely and still in the most civilized way possible.

The thin line you stand on is determined by whether you lie to yourself about the harsh reality or accept it; accepting that the glass is already broken and that you have to somehow deal and live with it.

No true love, no lottery ticket, no positive vibes or whatever else will do the work instead of you; while you enjoy your soft and naïve little world in your mind.

The thin line is determined by facing the reality or running away from it and becoming a completely unassertive person. A coward.

A thin line between assertiveness and aggressiveness

If you aren’t assertive in life you become miserable and depressed.

An assertive person likes themselves as they are, they have a strong sense of self and their autonomy, they have no problems with their needs being met, they know how to express feelings, where they’re going in life and what they want, they aren’t afraid of conflict and know how to set boundaries, and they take initiative and contribute creative ideas.

An assertive person is aware of their own toxic fears and feelings, and they try to overcome them. They aren’t too shy or too introverted, they’re constantly developing social skills and emotional intelligence. They are aware that they deserve to have a place in the sun.

Nevertheless, assertiveness can quickly turn into aggressiveness. You can quickly start pushing yourself and the people around you somewhere they don’t want to go, just to satisfy your ego.

You can start to manipulate, threaten, intimidate, harm and control people. The thin line between assertiveness and aggression becomes most visible when things go wrong.

Aggression is always based on severe negative feelings about yourself, others and the situation you are in. You want to get out of it, you want to get to the top, no matter what; even if you hurt yourself or others.

You can only see one way forward and that is the way that drives you to a better position, ignoring the harmful price and, even more sadly, not seeing any other options.

Standing up for yourself is the right thing to do. Following your own goals is the right thing to do. But there is a thing called a “win-win” situation.

It can’t always be achieved, but it can be achieved most of the time. If you are aggressive towards others, others are aggressive towards you, and that is not a life you want to live.

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

The side you stand on is usually determined by your thoughts, emotion management capabilities and intentions. If you have positive thoughts, emotions and intentions, you tend to share, include, connect, and look for the best situation for all parties involved.

If your intentions are bad and your thoughts are weak, you see everything as a zero-sum game and you don’t want to be the fool in a room. So you exploit others and make them fools.

Negative intentions usually mean complete absence of the abundance mindset. They mean severe fear and egoistic behavior, with the goal of winning no matter what.

That is very rarely necessary in life. Even more rarely is that a nice life to live. You can be assertive and follow your own goals without trampling other people. You should empower other people instead, and sleep much better at night.

Love vs hate

A thin line between love and hate

Hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love. And you have a choice. Will you lead a life of love or a life of hate?

You can switch from one to the other in a second. If you want to live a life of love, you must first love yourself. You can never truly love others if you hate yourself.

Your ultimate goal should be to not hate anybody – to respect the differences, to respect variety and to understand other people.

When you don’t hate anybody anymore, you really start loving yourself. You know there is enough for everyone and that you matter and that you are unique and different; but so is everybody else.

It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

If you’re on the right side of the thin line between love and hate, you know that there are many things wrong with this world.

But you also know that you do nothing if you have even more evil thoughts, feelings or even, God forbid, actions.

You know that the most you can do for the people you love and the whole world is to transcend negative feelings, show love, provide value and create things that will make the world just a slightly better place to live. That is the greatest legacy you can leave behind for your offspring.

If you’re on the right side of the thin line, you know that with hate, you only bring misery into your life and to others.

It’s like wanting to throw a burning rock into someone. You only burn yourself.

A thin line between being a genius and insane

Last but not least, there is a thin line between being a genius and being insane. To be a genius, you have to be different than others.

Well, actually being only different is not enough. You also have to be better. Different and better.

You have to think outside the box, you must possess courage to be yourself, you must be assertive and love what you do. You have to become obsessed with making the world a better place. Just a little bit.

You can possess entirely the same characteristics as a genius and become insane, only by crossing the thin line just a little bit.

When you do that, you don’t have a center on yourself anymore and you don’t have good intentions.

  • You are aggressive instead of being assertive.
  • You are greedy instead of healthy ambitious.
  • You hate diversity and other people instead of loving them.

Then your inner genius turns into insanity. You manipulate, you take only for yourself, you build your life based on fear and intimidation. That is not a life you want to live.

You want to be a genius. You want to be on the right side of the thin line. This is where life becomes more art than science. This is where it all comes down to one thing.

What kind of a legacy do you want to leave, what kind of an impact do you want to have on your family and the world? I hope it’s the positive one and you choose to be on the right side of the thin line. If you do, choose to be a good person.

Which side of the thin line are you on?

Genius = Happiness Madman
Facing bad fears Making stupid decisions
Being a good person, knowing the limits Buying attention by being a good person
Having a healthy limit regarding money Being a greedy monster
Mindfully centered Self-castrated vague person
A healthy assertive person Overly aggressive person
Living a life of love Living a life of hate

About the author

Consulting and management coaching

Blaž Kos has managed venture capital investments over the past 12 years and participated in the development of the start-up ecosystem in the region. Today, he advises companies on growth strategies, process optimization, the introduction of lean agile methods and the digitalization of business. In addition to the Slovenian blog, he also writes an English blog, which was selected among the 50 best bloggers in the world in the category of personal and business growth.
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