What if being yourself is not enough?

If being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life, what do you do about it?It’s funny how the entire world of self-help and self-development continually echoes with ideas of just “being yourself”, and how “you’re perfect the way you are”, and “if they don’t like it, that’s just their problem”. Not only because these ideas seem to downright contradict the entire concept of developing oneself. But what if, genuinely, being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life?

“Be yourself” is probably one of the biggest mantras in this post-modern society of ours. We’re more concerned with personal purpose and self-determination than ever.

And sure, if you ask me, I wouldn’t want it any other way, either. Why would I spend half my waking life slaving in a cubicle for some Armani-wearing dipshit who doesn’t know my name and couldn’t care less if it was me or someone else punching in those numbers, right?

But the problem is, in all our praise of individuality, we forget that our personalities aren’t fixed. You might be familiar with psychology professor Carol Dweck’s theories about how having a ‘fixed’ mindset — as opposed to a ‘growth’ mindset — is detrimental to our growth as human beings.

See, unlike other species, we can intentionally improve ourselves. And in some areas of our lives, it’s crucial that we do it.

Take me, for example. To become a successful entrepreneur, I’ve had to change from someone who slept ’till past 9 A.M.  most mornings, partied at least twice every weekend and just plain dicked around with no direction… To someone who wakes up at 6 P.M. every day, exercises every other day, detoxes for weeks on end and works from morning ’till evening.

Had I kept listening to whoever was parroting “just be yourself”, I would’ve settled.

If you don’t act a little out of character, how will you ever expand your comfort zone? If you’re shy and introvert, but you genuinely wanna be able to confidently interact with other people, are you gonna settle for simply “being yourself”?

I hope not.

No matter how this sounds, we need to acknowledge that in by far most cases, being yourself is not enough if we need to evolve ourselves to reach our goals.

(And really, name me one worthwhile goal for which one would not need to evolve oneself just a little.)

And yes, of course, we should all feel confident and love ourselves. But I’m sure every insensitive, narcissistic megalomaniac out there feels confident and loves themselves, too. And in the case of one such person, I’m sure the rest of us can agree that simply being yourself is not enough if you want the rest of the world to remember you positively.

(Picture is totally unrelated.)

And here’s another thing:

People change.

Not necessarily by intention. Not necessarily even by themselves. But over time, things tend to change. We grow up. We get tired of certain things, and we start feeling like trying other things. New people enter our lives; others leave. Some by simply dying; others by growing apart from us. Oh, and our bodies change.

Indeed, everything changes. And this affects us. What we want today might not be what we want tomorrow. And that’s okay.

Essentially, “being yourself” is an illusion. It is estimated that 40-60% of our personalities can be ascribed to biology. This means a hugely significant portion of who we are is not only subject to change, but also within our means of changing.

In the words of best-selling author and professor of management and psychology Adam Grant, “unless you’re Oprah, ‘be yourself’ is terrible advice”.

Let’s evolve!

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Yes, you gotta believe in yourself. BUT…

Believe in yourself, by all means. But that in itself will not get you anywhere near your goals.Believe in yourself.

Ah, how quaintly those three words ring throughout our collective childhood memories.

And for many a good reason. They’re age-old wisdom, really. You know how some people say that every one of those cliché’d sayings always have their legitimacy back somewhere?

Yeah, this one’s a prime example.

Believe in yourself is something we’re usually told as we grow up. It’s the predictable point of every other fable, fairytale, kid’s show, cartoon, or other type of narrative cultural product aimed at children.

And indeed, why wouldn’t it be? ALL confident people believe in themselves. The one common denominator for everyone who ever stood up for themselves and made a deliberate effort to change the world for the better, is confidence. And that means believing in yourself.

Oh, and claiming that believe in yourself is somewhat of a mantra within the world of self-help and self-development would be an understatement on par with “Batman Forever isn’t exactly the greatest movie ever” or “Donald Trump can seem a little self-centered sometimes”.

So then why is this one confidence coach all of a sudden coming along and telling you to NOT believe in yourself??

Well, I’m not.

But

Like I’ve written about before, simply loving yourself isn’t gonna cut it in and by itself if you want to achieve lasting confidence. Well, this is kinda the same thing.

And indeed, the two are highly alike. One couldn’t very well love oneself without believing in oneself, or vice versa.

In fact…

Loving yourself = self-esteem.

And…

Believing in yourself = self-confidence.

Okay, wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE! So you’re saying that there’s a “but“… If I wanna build my confidence… by being confident?!?

No.

My point is, that simply believing in yourself is not enough to build lasting confidence if what you’re doing doesn’t truly support you and matter to you.

I’ll even say it again for good measure:

To believe in yourself is not enough to build lasting confidence if none of what you’re doing is truly supportive or truly relevant to you.

For example, you might believe in yourself when it comes to playing video games. And your confidence in your video game skills might be ever so justified. But if you sit around playing video games literally all day, chances are you’re not gonna have much going for you out in the real world.

(Unless, of course, you’re one of those professional gamers who go to tournaments and win huge cash prices and whatnot.)

You might believe in yourself in a whole lot of areas and still end up making a complete crash-landing of your entire life — or even worse.

Think I’m kidding? I know this, because I did this. And lot of people I know did this, too.

… In fact, pretty much every successful person ever did this.

Yes, you gotta believe in yourself if you want confidence. It goes without saying. But the crucial “but” here is that your confidence won’t last unless you…

  • Do what matters to you
  • Know what you’re doing
  • Know why you’re doing it
  • Do the right things at the right time
  • Stay focused
  • Keep at it and never give up

Do all of the above check out with you? Good. In that case, you can hardly believe in yourself too much.

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Is it true that we can choose how we react?

We can choose how we react to our circumstances. -- Depending on our level of awareness.It is often said that we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to it.

While the idea itself is probably way older, the above quote is often ascribed to the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 C.E.).

Specifically, he stated the following:

Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions – in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.

What does this have to do with confidence and empowerment? Only pretty much everything.

See, I’ve found that the most basic difference between a confident and a non-fident mindset is the awareness of optional reactions. Like I’ve written about before, confident people have a mindset of abundance, possibilities and proactivity. Whereas non-fident people have a mindset of scarcity, limitations, and re-activity.

When we become confident, it’s because we shed our fears. This allows us to see possibilities where we used to see limitations and obstacles. And this, in turn, makes actively and consciously choosing what to do so much easier.

It’s when we’re confident that we can choose how we react.

However, this means that the saying of Epictetus isn’t 100% true.

Partly because non-fident people can’t always choose how to react. Because, non-fidents tend to look at life as something that happens to them rather than something which they’re able to influence. Therefore, their awareness of their available options are at a general low — often equaling zero.

Our level of awareness, then, determines to what extent we can choose how we react.

Furthermore, I see several patterns indicating that we can — to a certain degree — choose what happens to us.

Again, this highly depends on our level of confidence. Because the more confident we are, — and, hence, the more proactive we can be, — the more we’re able to set ourselves up to succeed.

The more we’re able to adjust our habits, our environment, our mentality, and our network of people to our advantage, the more we increase the possibility of great things happening in our lives. And the more confident we are, the more we’re able to do this.

If I could decide ONE quote, ONE piece of learning for you to take with you from me, the above might very well be it. Because this is the essence of what confidence does to us. Not only does it mean that we can choose how we react; it also enables us to build that future of happiness and success that we secretly yearn for. And, of course, it allows us to feel worthy thereof.

So, while he did make a name for himself, Epictetus might essentially have been too Stoic for his own good. 🙂

We can observe in highly confident people how having great confidence affects us. How it allows us to create our own realities. And how it really does mean that we can choose how we react.

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Confidence: Why loving yourself isn’t enough

In confidence, loving yourself is mandatory, but insufficient if it doesn't go any further than that.Throughout life itself, from cradle to grave — and especially often in the world of self-help and (confidence) coaching — we’re often told to love ourselves. And yes, we totally should.

Questioning this principle seems counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t loving yourself be a means to an end?

It’s not that it isn’t beneficial. On the contrary, loving yourself is awesome, and we should all do it. Confident people love themselves. So if you want to get confidence, you’d better.

However… Some people might find the very idea indisputable, and unexaggerable. (That’s a word now.) But I never did.

Here’s why:

While loving oneself is definitely associated with confidence, the premise is actually questionable.

Because none of us are fixed, static beings. We grow. We behave and think in accordance with what goes on in our lives and surroundings. Where we want our lives to go — and go away from.

Who you are tomorrow might be slightly different from who you are today. And even more so in a year. Hell, we change all of the cells in our bodies over a seven-year period. Who you are today is literally not the same as you were seven years ago.

Personally, while I’d still hang out with myself seven years ago, it actually wouldn’t apply much further back than that. Before I started my education, I was a mess. My life went nowhere; I was depressed and on social welfare; numbing myself with stimulants galore.

That person, I simply don’t love. And that doesn’t mean I love myself any less today. On the contrary, it’s only because I’ve evolved so much and gained so much confidence since then, that I do. If I hadn’t, I’d still be in that same pitiful position.

Another thing is that everything, as they say, should be done in moderation. And while that also includes moderation itself, it goes for loving oneself, too.

Think about it. Is it really impossible to imagine how one might be able to love oneself too much??

I can mention several examples, both now and through history, of people who would’ve benefited tremendously from having a little less narcissism and a little more realism.

I’m sure several serial killers, and, indeed, several powerful leaders/dictators around the world love themselves. — Just imagine how much better the world would be if those people could take some of their megalomania and replace it with a little empathy, compassion, and generosity. (Yes, I’m totally writing this with someone particular in mind.)

We need to put things into perspective. Yes, you should love yourself if you want confidence. There’s not one genuinely confident person on Earth who doesn’t love themselves. But these two things make them really, truly confident:

       A) They’re aware that they constantly learn and grow, and they make sure to evolve towards even more strength and love, and not away from it.

       B) Their confidence and love for themselves is complemented and supported by the ability to encompass a greater good. Including the lives and needs of the people around them.

And then, of course, there’s ability, determination, focus, dedication, mindfulness, assertiveness, resourcefulness, self-evaluation, self-discipline, exercise, physical well-being… And all the other great things that go hand in hand with being confident.

So, in summary:

If you want confidence, love yourself. But yourself should, ideally, still be moving towards an even more lovable position, and you should also cultivate all the other personal traits that make for a confident human being.

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5 stupid excuses for giving up

Your excuses for giving up are pathetic, and deep down you probably know it.Today, I’ll be presenting 5 stupid excuses for giving up. Last week, I wrote about consistency, and simply about giving up. Consider this post, then, the end of a trilogy.

There’s a saying that goes: “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

Boom. Love it.

If a project is neither necessary or interesting for you anymore, there’s no shame in abandoning it. But otherwise, there are only excuses for giving up on working towards our deepest dreams and desires.

And I wage that there are only stupid excuses for giving up the project of building one’s confidence.

With that, I hereby line up five of these excuses and debunk them one at a time:

 

#1. “I’ve tried everything

First of all, no you haven’t. Because if you did, you’d have succeeded.

Second, let’s even say for a moment, hypothetically, that you’d literally tried everything and still not succeeded. Ask yourself what’s most likely: That A) somehow it just doesn’t work for you out of everyone who’s tried everything, ever, or that B) there’s one or more steps which you simply haven’t done properly.

 

#2. “It’s too hard

Too hard for what?? Nothing is “too hard” if you do it in achievable magnitudes. In other words: Break it down into smaller bits and don’t do more than possible at a time.

Even if you’re about to take on a major endeavour, you gotta start wherever you’re at. And all the better if you start slowly and accelerate gradually. If you’re gonna run a marathon, you’re not gonna start off by doing all 26 miles at once. But if you can run 20 minutes three times a week, you’re off to a decent start.

Wanna start your own business? Read the three best books in your field and you’ll be way ahead of the vast majority.

 

#3. “I’ve given up on everything else, once more won’t make any difference

This isn’t something we say out loud, but a piece of inner dialogue. It’s habitual thinking out of habitual action — or lack thereof. And it’s a painfully obvious result of low confidence and self-esteem.

If it’s important to you, it does so make a difference that you don’t give up. And that, plus the fact that you’ve given up on “everything else”, even if it’s an exaggeration, is all the more reason for you to not give up on this one.

 

#4. “I haven’t got the time

Just like the “I’ve tried everything” mindset, this mindset is one of limited resourcefulness. It’s probably the most common and reasonable one on here. — But it’s still no more than an excuse.

You see… WE ALL HAVE 24 HOURS EVERY DAY.

There is no such thing as “I haven’t got the time”. There is only wrong prioritizing and lack of energy, and these are amenable obstacles.

Getting a coach is a hugely effective way of solving this.

 

#5. “It feels safer and more comfortable doing what I’m used to

Like #3, this is one of those unsaid excuses we only tell ourselves, and that is just eerily close to its origin in fear, insecurity, and low confidence/self-esteem.

Look…:

The biggest risk is to bet your entire life on fear-based habits and instant gratification.

We’re here once. No reasonable basis for thinking otherwise. So let’s establish all the confidence we need. Let’s not waste our only chance by letting fear and insecurity get in the way.

Let’s stop coming up with dumb excuses for giving up on our true goals.

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Depression is NOT “laziness”, it’s your ignorance and arrogance that’s lazy.

What does low confidence have in common with depression? A lot of things, including that none of them can be reduced to a simple matter of "laziness".Many non-fident people will be familiar with depression. In fact, you could very well say that confidence and self-esteem are pretty safe antidotes for depression. — And vice versa.

When we’re depressed, we have little faith in our abilities and our future. In our purpose, our entire existence, our very worth as human beings. Depression in its worst forms can be one of the most debilitating non-lethal illnesses ever known to mankind. In fact, according to the WHO, depression will account for “the highest level of disability accorded any physical or mental disorder in the world” by 2030.*

(And I say “non-lethal”. Because in the case of suicidal depression, it’s technically not the disease itself that kills you.)

And then, some ignorant, self-righteous idiot starts claiming that it’s all about “being lazy”, “pulling yourself together”, and “if I can, so can you”. And then, I involuntarily grind my teeth and clench my fists.

As if depression was simply a matter of being “lazy”. I mean, how dare these people?!

As if anyone who, remarkably enough, knows absolutely nothing about depression, were even remotely qualified to have an opinion on the matter. — Much less write the whole thing off as “laziness”.

Seriously, if you’ve ever thought someone suffering from depression was simply being lazy, up yours. Your point of view is not only objectively wrong and twisted, it’s insulting and harmful. The end, period.

In fact, I think it’s about time we put the very idea of “laziness” to scrutiny. Because what I’ve found is that, when there’s someone we might consider “lazy”, there’s really all other kinds of stuff going on underneath that perceived laziness.

There’s fear. Insecurity. Barriers. There is analysis paralysis. These things tend to manifest as procrastination, inactivity, isolation, and defensiveness.

… But they’re NOT “laziness”.

And no, not even procrastination. It’s all based in fear; it’s all driven by fear.

Insecurity is basically fear. We perceive barriers out of fear. We over-think, second-guess and go into analysis paralysis out of fear. The most primal human feeling, (apart from the conglomerate of physical attraction, survival instinct and dopamine-induced emotions that we call love), is fear.

… NOT “laziness”.

– “Okay, so now there’s no lazy people anymore? What if the name is there for a reason?

Well, everything’s here for a myriad of reasons. But just because every ol’ man-made notion or idea is here for a reason doesn’t make it true.

Our ancestors used to think the solar system was geocentric. Errrrrrp, wrong answer.

It’s not that I’m writing off the idea that someone can be lazy. But psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and mental therapists have long since built an entire bulletproof framework around the concept of depression. By working with people suffering from depression and low confidence/self-esteem.

— Just like astronomers have long since discovered that our solar system is heliocentric.

Depression is real; it’s medically proven; and it’s not laziness. On the contrary, the only thing that’s remotely lazy in this context is the ignorance and arrogant attitude of anyone who claims that depressed people are simply being “lazy”.

 

* Source: https://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/2012/february/manicavasagar/

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Are you humble or vain?

Outer values don't mean you're vain or less worth. On the contrary, they often reflect confidence.Many of us are raised into believing that humility, modesty and inner values are virtues. — And that those are superior and contradictory to being vain, selfish, and superficial.

That money not only can’t buy you love, but it’s the root of all evil. That we’re not supposed to think too highly of ourselves, and that wanting more than your average peer is “vain”,  “selfish” and “greedy”.

… And I say that’s all a huge load of life-denial.

Want six-pack abs? Of course you do!

Want a pimped-out car? Cool!

Want to be rich? Well, who doesn’t?!

Want to eat out at fancy restaurants every week? Well, count me in!

Sadly, there’s a prevalent way of thinking that allegedly, only weak individuals who try to cover up low confidence strive for these things. And that the two are incompatible contraries.

However, I’ve found the opposite to be true.

Whether you can have a humble outlook and still cultivate outer values is a matter of confidence. Because confidence is a matter of personal growth, and being able to contain presumed differences and paradoxes.

I used to think that nothing made any sense because nothing has any inherent meaning or value, and therefore, nothing mattered. And so, it didn’t matter what I did or whether I felt good, so I might as well feel miserable.

Today, I KNOW that nothing makes sense, has any meaning or value — so we have to apply our own meaning and value. I KNOW that my existence is as objectively pointless as any other human being’s. — But also, I sure do know what I like. So I’ll have some more of that while I’m here, thank you.

Non-fidence often entails envy of other people’s fortune. With thinking in terms of scarcity, pettiness and settling — rather than abundance, admiration and ambition.

When you see successful people driving cool cars, dining at expensive restaurants, working out to get slim and fit, and whatnot, those things are assuredly a reflection of confidence. — Feeling that you’re worth something, and that it’s totally cool to have nice things because why shouldn’t you be allowed to?

But they’re only brief values, not permanent ones!

… And??

Whenever we eat anything, it’s a passing pleasure. And, for that matter, whenever we have sex, watch a movie, get drunk, have fun and all-round entertain ourselves. Life CONSISTS of passing moments and sensations: Why not make sure they’re enjoyable?

Don’t get me wrong. We should, ideally, feel good about ourselves no matter what we do. But I believe it goes the other way, too.

I believe that the things we do should also make us feel good. If someone else considers them “vain”, so what?

Just because you feel good doesn’t make it right. I know. But that in itself sure doesn’t make it wrong, either.

We’re here once. (And there’s no sensible reason to believe otherwise until someone presents sufficient evidence.) So for goodness’ sakes let’s go ahead and make that one time worth looking back upon.

ACTION ITEM:

Indulge yourself. Do something you’ve been wanting to do, but didn’t because you thought it might be too vain or selfish.

If you want to be worth it, go ahead and think that you are. That’s how we grow a little.

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“The one word you need in order to succeed”

In order to succeed, don't just say 'yes' or 'no'. Say both, to the right things, respectively.Yeah, notice how there’s a lot of these kinds of headlines out there? “The one word you need in order to succeed”. “Learn this one word and it’ll change your life forever”.

To spare you the time and effort, I’ve hereby decided to write, well, the one article you’ll ever need to read about this topic.

(… In order to succeed? You be in charge of that.)

You see, in my years of studying confidence and self-development I’ve read several articles like that. And while some of them do contain important truths, I have a problem with the entire premise. Because…

***SPOILER ALERT***

This one word they talk about is always either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

The idea, then, is that if you just say ‘yes’ — or ‘no’ — to whatever comes your way, things’ll start looking up for you.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. Because…

How on Earth would you possibly live like that??

And it’s not like I don’t get it. I KNOW you’re not supposed to take it that literally.

But what these articles fail to address is the crucial distinction between what one either accepts or rejects .

If you say ‘no’ to everything you’re not gonna have much going for you. But if you say ‘yes’ to everything you’re gonna burn out from stress within a week.

What’s really important is WHEN to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

For the sake of argument, let’s distinguish between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ mentality. Both can be attributed to non-fidence in their respective ways.

A ‘yes’ mentality in that non-fidents are often people pleasers who will seek to avoid causing conflict and rejection by over-agreeing, over-accepting, and taking on too many burdens of their peers.

A ‘no’ mentality in that negativity is closely related to non-fidence. If you look at yourself negatively, you probably don’t have a very positive outlook altogether. And to protect themselves, non-fidents tend to be rejective towards new ideas that might challenge their comfort zone.

In order to succeed, then, we gotta figure out the right things to either accept or reject.

To better ourselves, we need to teach our ‘yes’ mentality that sometimes it’s okay to disagree, reject non-supportive ideas, and acknowledge that we’re not able to solve everyone’s problems.

And, conversely, we need to teach our ‘no’ mentality that we’ll go nowhere by not allowing ourselves to, that new ideas fuel our growth, and that meaningful change happens outside our comfort zone.

It takes years practicing this distinction. Hell, I’m still working on it. But it gets easier.

Just don’t ever think you’ll do yourself any good by resorting to leading a one-track mentality.

ACTION ITEM:

Write two lists of five to ten things.

One, a ‘yes’-list — of things towards which you probably need to be more open and accepting. And, well, in order to succeed in some areas.

The other, a ‘no’-list — of things which you probably need to cut down on, or maybe remove from your life entirely.

These things might be actions, habits, ideas, people, food, gadgets… Whichever might be either obviously beneficial or detrimental to you.

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We need a more nuanced way of saying “just do it”

Try telling someone with low confidence and/or depression to just do it. -- Actually, don't.People with low confidence and/or depression endure additional frustration when confronted with the attitude of just do it.

Popularized by an immense athletics corporation, it’s hard not to see the mass-appeal of this ubiquitous saying. — And of its more jaunty sibling: Nothing to it but to do it.

Ah, how quaintly it conveys confidence and a winning spirit.

Unfortunately, it’s hardly translatable into utility.

Two reasons for that:

    1) First of all, it only presents an attitude that, when paired with persistence, focus, and above all a crystal clear plan, will help you endure. But when you have neither, what good is a one-sentence peptalk in itself?

In other words: I should just do what, exactly?

And when? And how? For how many hours a day? What time of day? And until when? And succeeded by what?

     2) Second, depression and low confidence is impossible to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself. And the people who are keen on giving well-meant advice often have no clue what kind of situation they’re addressing…:

Feel depressed? Well, you just gotta pull yourself together!

Can’t lose weight? Well, you just gotta eat less and exercise more!

No luck with the ladies? Well, you just gotta be yourself!

Don’t have any friends? Well, you just gotta have more confidence!”

*SIGH*

Look: Building one’s confidence and/or breaking free of depression can be tough. Solving those issues can take months, or even years. And…

If you have neither confidence nor direction in life, being met with an attitude of just do it isn’t only inappropriate; it can seem downright insulting.

If we wanna carry something out, we gotta be specific about it. Only THEN does it make sense to talk about “just” doing something.

First, however, we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do. And for many people, this in itself is a biggie.

(Hell, it took me +33 years!)

Specifically, the best way to get started on this is to start walking one path. Plain and simple.

Pick it out of interest. If you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere, pretty much anything will do.

This isn’t a mandatory future career we’re embarking on here. We merely walk a path because any momentum is essential for any progress, and because standing still will only cause us to deteriorate.

Also, if at any point we feel like changing directions, we can always do that. And we will have gathered valuable experience for our onward journey.

ACTION ITEM:

Write down at least three things you’d like to answer the next time someone gives you the happy-go-lucky attitude of just do it.

No need to be belligerent. Just think about what you’d most of all want people to understand, and use that as a benchmark.

Optionally, if what you need might be direction, write down three things you’d might wanna pursue. List any pros and cons beneath each one. If you have no interests whatsoever, take comfort in the fact that you likely have worlds of undiscovered interests ahead.

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We don’t “deserve” anything

We don't deserve anything just by feeling, thinking and acting however we happen to do. And that's what we necessarily do all the time.Many coaches and self-development whizzes will talk about living the life you “deserve”, and how you somehow “deserve” certain things. But… You don’t deserve anything.

Because nobody does. And already, I have a good idea what most of you are thinking:

But I’ve been miserable for so many years! I deserve to be happy!” “I’ve worked so hard! I deserve money!” “I’ve never slept with a girl! I deserve sex!

No. You don’t deserve anything, and here’s why…

Whenever we do anything, we do it because it’s what everything in our lives leads towards.

When we do something out of habit, we run on autopilot. Our habits are formed through a myriad of contributing factors, internal and external.

Whenever we break habits, it’s because we use our will. But our will is just as much of an inescapable condition as our habits.

When we break habits, it’s because our habits have become unbearable. – To an extent where change is the only option. And whenever we try something new, our guiding contributor is our curiosity. Which is just as ingrained as our habits, our will, and everything else comprising our personalities.

I know: This is kinda heavy on the philosophy. Bottom line: We gotta understand and accept that life isn’t fair. Everyone is who they happen to be. They still don’t deserve anything more or less.

While this doesn’t mean we don’t have any will of our own, it simply means that our will isn’t “free”; it’s conditioned. The only things of which our thoughts, feelings and actions are independent are the things to which we aren’t exposed in the first place.

For example, you can’t somehow want pancakes unless at some point you’ve heard about the existence of pancakes.

But we can invent things! Someone invented pancakes!

Yes. And that person wouldn’t have been able to without hearing about the existence of flour, eggs, sugar, and water, and being disposed to combine them.

We’re not the unique center of the universe just because we’re self-conscious. We can combine things – willfully or accidentally. But the comprising elements need to be available to us first.

Also, this doesn’t mean there are no values. It’s just that there are no objective values.

Some might claim that empathy, love, and procreation is “bigger” than us, transcending generations. But in a larger perspective, it still falls flat.

Eventually, mankind dies. Like the five billion species before us. Eventually, Earth will be swallowed by the sun. There will be no individuals to experience “values”. And even though we might consider the existence of otherworldly species that might share a resemblance of these values, we have no way of knowing.

(Enough philosophy for today, I promise!)

Now here’s the liberating part:

If we want values, we just gotta pick ‘em for ourselves. Your values are as good as any. So stick by them. If need be, you can always change them as you go along.

The universe; destiny; God; whatever you call it, owes you exactly dick.

And therein lies liberation. Because…

Whenever we think we “deserve” something, we live by entitlement. And confident people have no need for entitlement. They know that the only reward we get is whatever we set ourselves up for, and that the path towards it is a purpose in itself.

Confident people set themselves up for success knowing perfectly well that we don’t deserve anything. Because it’s not a matter of “deserving” it. – It’s simply a matter of doing whatever it takes to achieve whatever we want.

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