The end of civilization is a lack of self-restraint. We have to know where "good enough" becomes "over the top," or, "too much of a good thing," and stop before we go that far. Knowing when to quit is the hallmark of success on every level. "The balance of nature" is maintained by the food supply. Successful species run out of food, die out, or die down, giving "the food" an opportunity to restock the shelves, so to speak, and start another round of nature's way: supply and demand. We save ourselves the experience of "the death spiral" by checking our excesses, and preventing the demand from disappearing the supply. Self-discipline is the heart of self-advancement and personal growth. Knowing where to stop is the essence of wisdom. And all of this is readily apparent to those who know how to be quiet in the right way, fostering awareness, reflection and realization, drawing lines and setting limits at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. The hallmark of a life well-lived.
Aspiration, ambition, dreams and desire can prevent us from maintaining the momentum necessary to achieve balance and harmony in the service of ends truly worthy of us. We can want the wrong things and spend ourselves in the pursuit of imaginary wonders and empty delights. Wanting to be a writer can keep us from writing if what we want is the glory of Best-Seller-Hood and not the quiet joy of finding the right word to say what we need to say without anyone ever reading what we have written. Writers write to say what they have to say. And only writers do that, day in and day out, all their life long. If you want to be a writer, start writing. And don't stop. Write like a dog wags its tail (Alan Stacell said that about artists needing to "paint like a dog wags its tail"). Find what you must do, and do that, "rain or shine." If you die without ever doing your thing, it will be like, "What was that all about?" Why drag that around through all eternity?
What is your art? What is your life? Those who know and have known know/knew that living in the service of art and our life is the core, foundation, source and goal of a life well-lived. This does not mean that their art/life paid the bills. Their art/life is/was what they paid the bills to do. What they did to pay the bills is/was whatever it took, but their real work is/was their art/life. Find your art/life, and let everything fall into place around that. Hint: Being quiet in the right kind of way is the best way to find the way, to know what is important, to understand what it means to "live truthfully," and to have it made in the best sense of the term. Second hint: We are here to know ourselves and express ourselves, and to help others do the same things-- and to live in the service of those three things all our life long. Anything that distracts us from these three things is getting in the way.