Path Finding

I sometimes hear, “Follow your fear”. But words are messy. I think it should be: Embark on your adventure. In other words, follow a path that fills you with trepidation at first, yet has the potential for greatness. For instance, I’m afraid of heights, but this doesn’t mean my destiny deals with hot-air balloons — that’s not a win-win payoff for me. So instead think, what’s the best-case scenario down this somewhat scary path — does it sound awesome? No? — then that’s not your path. Would the ideal outcome fill me with delight? Yes? — then that’s your path.

The only way we know we care about something is if it stirs something inside us. When following our path, we should use nervousness as evidence that we’re heading in the right direction. It means we care about the topic. We mustn’t use it as an excuse to retreat, but as confirmation to continue. And again, we’ll know it’s the right path because the optimal result is something we really want. If we can’t imagine an optimal result, then we won’t appreciate that path and should pursue another instead.

How do we know the outcome will work out in the end? To put it plainly, life is a fulfillment generator. It’s a video-game/movie/simulation. We know this because people’s dreams readily do come true — we can simply look around. The world contains global super-stars, the rich and famous, YouTube celebrities, renowned TV chefs, professional-gaming champions, great inventors, heroes of all sorts, titans of industry, and lovers with their love-stories. And just think about how little we’ve done to ensure our own survival or success — there’s obviously something outside ourselves that maintains the narrative.

Is it mere luck we’re still alive? How have we personally avoided countless diseases, random accidents, murderous crimes, global catastrophes, violent weather, deadly drowning, etc, etc? By our training, preparation, and diligence? Ha. We’ve never been solely responsible for our own survival. But what about all those people that die everyday!? That’s their path, not ours. We must concentrate on our own path — if it happens to include the welfare of all humanity, that’s great — but if it doesn’t, that’s great too.

Advertisements

Finding Success

Hard-work? Determination? Smarts? Luck? Or perhaps a variety of factors? What is it that determines whether we achieve “success” in the world? I’ve been researching the answer to this question for a while now. I’ve watched videos of prominent people talking about it. I’ve listened to speeches and interviews. I’ve read books on the subject. I’ve even attempted to peer into the lives of the successful. And the most striking thing about success, is the lack of a practical path. There is no physical pathway that leads to success. The overall summation of my research is that material success is based on the immaterial, the spiritual.

In my own life for instance, I noticed that I was not spiritual or successful. In practical terms, success is not something that can be chased directly, there are too many external circumstances that require synchronization. So the only solution for someone like me, is to pursue spirituality. And through spirituality, the pathway to success becomes available — or at least that’s my theory.

Spirituality, as used here, means a belief in a world that is not physical. Existence is not a series of interstellar accidents, but a dream. And importantly, it’s a lucid dream that can be influenced. Success, as used here, means achieving satisfaction with our place in the world, performing our desired role, and having fulfilling relationships with others. Just collecting possessions or achieving a particular goal does not equal success, as we can observe the suffering of those with only superficial success.

The spiritual path is one we can step on at anytime. We need nothing but the thoughts within our head. It’s a matter of filtering these thoughts through a particular perspective. And in this instance, it’s believing that dreams do come true. To believe this, we must dismantle the concrete world we built, the one sitting on a foundation of lack and limitation. We must replace it with a new and wondrous world built atop a foundation of infinite possibilities and hopefulness. In short, it’s trading pessimism for optimism.

Talent Search

I define one’s talent as: that which you can do a lot of and not be bored. It’s true that we can improve at things over time with practice — yet what will we dedicate our time to, but something that remains eternally interesting. So the thing we can most improve on, and master, is something we can keep doing without irritation.

Additionally, such talents aren’t likely to be highly cerebral activities in the sense that we have to methodically think each step through. Instead, these talents just flow out naturally with a sense of ease and eventual mastery. Plus there’s likely to be a sense of amusement, because we’ll readily do what’s enjoyable.

For example, I enjoy tools (hammers, saws, pliers, etc.) and have an above average amount of them, yet in all these years I can’t say I’ve ever really developed a mastery for using them. So when projects turn out mediocrely, I get a bit frustrated and glad when the job’s done, and I put the tools away to hibernate until next time inspiration strikes and I forget my previous frustrations.

So for me, I think working with tools is a tangential hobby, not a talent. I have to methodically think through each step and I get frustrated by obstacles. When searching for talent, look for what energizes and emanates effortlessly. It’s not necessarily what we’re initially good at, but what entertains and excites despite obstacles.

Evaluation of Effort

The 5-year anniversary of this blog’s inception is rapidly approaching — a blog in which I dedicated countless hours and published over 1,000 posts. With all that investment, this project must be a successful endeavor, right? Well if external metrics are used to judge success, then no, it’s a failure. The subscriber rate is extremely low, audience engagement barely exists, and there is no income. So… I suppose I should just close up shop….

Ha! Luckily, external success was not the original goal of this blog, it was simply a place to publicly publish my thoughts. Why publicly? I’m not sure really, although I think it encourages me to refine my writing when I believe someone else might read it. And perhaps it was a very weak attempt at connecting with others. Weak, because I don’t even try to engage, it doesn’t suit me. But a year ago I purchased this blog’s current domain-name and set out to magically achieve external success. It hasn’t worked so far, not even a little.

They say, do what you love and the money will follow, but I’m not sure if that’s a true statement or I’m just impatient. To be honest though, I don’t want my blog to be a source of income. Oops, I suppose I’ve been counteracting success all along — a classic mistake. And to be honest again, I don’t want a lot of eyeballs judging me, I’d appreciate just a quick glance at the artistry and a quiet exit. So yes, it appears that my blog is everything I wished for, a barely noticed shop down a quiet street that only a few people ever accidentally stumble into.

Hm, perhaps the magic did work after-all. And I should mention that internally, this blog has been a success. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing and publishing succinct essays, it’s provided a feeling of creative accomplishment, and really helped in allowing me to monitor my thoughts and moods. And because many of these thoughts come from a well-of-inspiration beyond myself, I really enjoy reading them as an audience member (although I seem to be the only one — ha!).

See the difference though? This post was written as a stream-of-consciousness by regular uninspired me. But in writing it down, I could clearly see the conflict of interest. I suppose if I’m looking for success, my blog is off-limits as a means of achievement. It must remain pristine like a mountain stream, a place that few travelers ever find. Hm, I like that. Okay, so magic still might be real, success still might come, but this blog is not the vehicle I’ll be driving there — and I will try not to judge this blog by external means ever again. It’s a hidden little gem where the secrets of the universe are succinctly written for the weary wanderer that enters by some serendipitous means.

Well-crafted Elle

elle-office

This is a picture of my darling wife Elle in her new office. It’s a small walk-in closet with a folding-chair and a folding-tray for the desk. I am documenting her meager beginnings as an Internet-influencer and entrepreneur.

In but a brief time for instance, she amassed over 25,000 followers on Instagram by posting beautiful pictures of the local landscape. She really has quite the eye for photography. The lens through which she sees the world can be a rosy one, and she’s able to capture this view in her photos.

Unfortunately though, she stopped caring about that account and moved onto something new. It was either playing Seabeard or watching The Great British Bakeoff, I’m not sure which distraction it was this time. That’s the trouble you see, her talent erupts like a mighty volcano spewing bright magma in all directions, causing heads to turn and stare, only to fizzle-out as the lava quickly cools into motionless mud-like glops stuck to the side of a once shapely mountain.

Sometimes she’ll chastise me for my lack of success. I think she’s just angry at herself and takes it out on me though. I don’t really care about my own success, I’m not very competitive nor do I have much drive to prove myself. But in an attempt to please her, I try to do things that might lead to success — although they usually don’t amount to much.

Even if I was successful, I don’t think she’d be satisfied until she found her own creative outlet. I, on the other hand, can be satisfied just sitting in a small room all day. One day I imagine she’ll find her niche and success will come pouring in. I see myself as part of her support system, keeping things well-balanced.

She’ll often get in moods where she imagines burning bridges to all pre-existing relationships, ours included, but I suppose that’s part of her artist’s temperament (it’s actually PMS, but she hates when I mention that). Her creativity does tend to follow a monthly cycle by the way. Spurts of motivation in the beginning until an eventual crash at the end followed by a month of rest and distraction.

I write all this, dear diary, because sometimes it’s tough to be criticized for days at a time by a loved one. Of course I try to tell her all the tips and tricks of happiness, many I learned from her, but they are of no use to someone in a mischievous mood. So around and around we go, the sun rises and the sun sets. The cycle continues, spring follows winter and sure enough bloom-time will come again.

Linear Accomplishment

Is accomplishment linear? For instance, if I want to build a house in Minecraft, I simply select the appropriate tool, gather the right resources, choose a building location, place each block according to plan, and voila — done. But the real-world seems more indirect than this, like there’s a haze of uncertainty all along the path.

If I want to build a house in the real-world, where do I start? Finances? Obtain a large sum of money? Find an empty lot? Speak to a real estate agent? Builder? Browse house designs? Select building-materials? Get permits? Within my mind, I can’t really see the complete path to building a house in the real-world. All I can really do is have faith in the process.

In a virtual-world, everything is logical and follows a linear path. A virtual-world investment pays-off exactly as expected. A virtual-world project is completed by a specific routine with a set amount of effort. Yet in the real-world everything seems nebulous and uncertain. Although, what if the real-world behaves unpredictably only because I believe it should. In other words, the world lives up to my expectations.

For those that do accomplish great things, perhaps life is behaving exactly as they expected too. I expect things to go awry. I expect delays and setbacks and endless obstacles. So perhaps my wish is granted. Negative people often assume that life purposefully piles poop onto their path, yet what if their outlook is actually summoning the crap.

When browsing through people’s lives, I’m not sure I can detect definitive patterns. I see some succeed despite their dour attitude. But the world is all things to all people, so a pattern might be impossible to discern. Because of this, it’s probably best not to directly compare my life to others, as we may be on completely different planes of existence.

If I’m in creative-mode and my life contains unpleasantness and lack, then that means I am requesting these conditions by my expectations. Therefore if I alter my expectations, then conditions should change. But if I start expecting the best of life to manifest before my eyes, how long must I wait to see some results?

But let’s analyze this a bit. I’ve had some really negative thoughts in the past, yet they never manifested despite my constant worry. This means that life doesn’t necessarily use my thoughts as a set of instructions. Perhaps it only uses my attitude as a rough guide to go by and then fills in the details. And since I’m on easy-mode, my bad attitude causes me to get a cold instead of murdered.

It’s actually pretty embarrassing how often I’d contemplate all the horrible ways in which I’d meet my demise. I stopped doing this by the way. My overall attitude has been much improved over the past five years, especially this past year. And in a few ways it does seem like there’s been small but perceptible changes in my surroundings.

What I’m waiting for now are the grand sweeping changes, the fabulous cash and prizes. I don’t need to remain in my little cave anymore, but I’ve no real reason to step out unless something wondrous awaits. And now I’m ready and willing to accept such delights, minus the suspicion, without complaint, and finally full of appreciation. Let’s do this!

Achieving Greatness

How does a country become great again?

Because of differing opinion on what constitutes greatness, the prescription necessitates a wide-ranging freedom of expression. A great country therefore, is one that maximizes individual ability to pursue happiness.

From their own words we read that George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson believed slavery to detract from the greatness of their country. In other words, oppression does not instill greatness.

If someone wants to work in a particular field, then such specific work must be available. If someone wants to relocate, he must be able to do so. If someone requests a doctor, one must be provided. If two consenting adults choose to be married, that option must exist.

The only caveat to freedom is when it directly interferes with the lives of others. Murder and theft are such examples. But the hindering of lifestyles deemed “impractical” or “inappropriate” falls within the category of oppression. We cannot impose our mere preferences upon others.

The American Dream is about hope. It is the idea that an individual can begin at the bottom yet still reach the top (according to his own definition). Delays exist, but the path to greatness can be traversed by the persistent.

Those that believe America lacks greatness lack hope. They feel confined, unable to pursue their preferred path. But in actuality, no such physical paths exist nor ever did. America is a land of dreams. Those from entrenched cultures came not because of pre-existing infrastructure but because of its absence.

A dream is not a practical plan, it is a fantasy that is believed despite practicality. The dreamer’s job is to imagine his outcome, not concern himself with the details of how or why. “No’s” are just noise to be ignored.

The American Dream is available to those that resist fear and dismantle self-imposed limitations. The pursuit may last a lifetime but greatness comes from an unyielding hope and the determination to follow one’s dreams till the end.