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.

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Lightly Vexed

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, I’m slightly annoyed at life right now because I’m not getting what I want.

Dear Reader, that’s great! It means you’ve been enticed. You’re like a little fishy nibbling after a sparkling lure — life is attempting to capture your attention. But this is a condition to be celebrated, not lamented.

Imagine never wanting anything, what a dull life that’d be. You’d just kinda sit there, not doing much at all. You know those times when you’re bored and can’t think of anything to do? It’d be like that, but you’d be perpetually unable think of something to do because you never want anything.

Or think of it this way, imagine you receive everything you want immediately. You’d just keep on moving to the next want. Want after want after want after want. Seems pretty hectic doesn’t it? Fulfilling a want has never ultimately satisfied you, has it? No, after every achievement the process begins anew.

So life has done something nice and you don’t even appreciate it. Life provides you with something interesting to think about in the form of a pursuit. Then life is thoughtful enough to set a relaxed pace for attainment. What’s your rush? If efficiency was life’s goal, we’d simply expire the day we’re born.

So relax, take a deep breath, and settle in for the long haul. Realize that anticipation is a pleasant feeling — if done right, it’s the most enjoyable part of the pursuit — it’s the time when you’re most excited and optimistic. So for enjoyment’s sake, just believe with certainty you’ll get what you want — and let those happy feelings flow.

Finding Purpose

You know you’re doing the right thing when it feels effortless, provides a sense of accomplishment, and you receive some recognition. Also, you’ll notice that external stressors lessen. By whatever mechanism, it’s as if life is giving you more time and energy to focus on what you should be doing. On the other hand, life will rain down a shitstorm of external stressors if you’re heading down the wrong path. It’s like headlights and horns in your face as you drive down the wrong lane. If you don’t know what to do, do whatever’s easiest while eliciting the least stress. For instance, do predatory animals typically hunt the largest and strongest prey? No, they go after what’s easiest.

By effortless, I mean your task should suit your talent and tenacity. If you’re not initially good at something but have drive and perseverance, then yeah it might work out just fine. By accomplishment, I mean you should feel good about the tasks you perform on a daily basis and you should go to bed feeling satisfied. By recognition, I mean a few strangers should like what you do, compliment it or whatever. And finally, the last part might be magical or just a byproduct of intense focus, I’m not sure, but either way your surroundings should blur and intrude less in your life. When these 4 criteria align, you’ve done it, you’ve found your purpose. But bear in mind, this whole process might take decades, so have patience and try to enjoy the exploration phase.

Personal Success

Do not be seduced by popular depictions of success.
Your success is the vision that resides solely within your mind.
Because it is personal, it is achievable.
As a dream tailored to your traits and abilities, be confident in its outcome.

Within the mind, picture what pleases you — see without limits.
Now construct that image from the raw materials provided by life.
Push and pull, creatively crafting the life you imagined.
Persist patiently as you labor lightheartedly.

Worthwhile World

Are we to be but beasts, fiercely competing for scraps? Clawing and scratching our way to the top of a mountain of meaninglessness? What a wicked world indeed. Or shall we let our higher nature light the way? Friendliness and collaboration, endeavoring toward a unified whole.

By no means is sameness humanity’s goal. Groups and roles are not our plague, but divisiveness, that corrosive ire that divides based on disgust. Through fear, an implement of division, we are dispersed into an us-versus-them.

We must therefore dismantle our worries while instilling a sense of dignity for all. It is defiance to trepidation, mixed with an urge to cooperate, that underlies unity. Let us be ever willing to extend our hands in greeting, aid, and comfort.

We must trust in the goodwill of others lest this be a worthless world. Who desires mere survival? If our amiable efforts are for naught then existence is a waste, a trite distraction and nothing more. For that reason, never shrink from the consequence of giving, as it is our sacrifice that fulfills us.

Beckoning Beacon

We can criticize and attempt to fix all that’s wrong with life. We can try to stay out of things and just observe. We can dive right into our role and relish the experience.

Obviously we’d rather just travel a well defined path and feel fulfilled by our physical existence. But as ambitions and opportunities don’t always align, frustration can set in. From there we can rebel against life with rage or disinterest — burning out early or retreating at every opportunity.

We might also try acceptance. But acceptance is no easy task for those unable to relate to their internal inclinations or external circumstances. For some it seems as if asking a dog to live as a bird — build a nest and eat worms.

Because life contains dilemmas too numerous and intertwined to manage, it’s of no use to fix life. Because urges force action, we can’t simply sit still. For many, just dealing with the angst of life is a primary theme of existence.

But that’s good news, as that angst represents an actual pathway. It is the role of some to act as beacons, traveling ahead, shining so others miss the ruts and rocks. Starting as dim flickers these beacons gather resources, enough to build a brilliant light.

Theoretical Influence

If life was created as a method of amusement, participants would require constant engagement lest they begin to sense the artificiality of it all. Stressors would be introduced regularly so as to force participation and maintain the attention of the observer within. But in life’s view it seems, any circumstance that engrosses is fair game — pleasant or unpleasant, it doesn’t appear to matter.

Something to consider then, is whether life takes suggestions for the content it serves up. Can our consciousness provide input so that life stimulates us with what’s pleasant instead of what’s unpleasant?

For instance, if we’re not putting any effort into life, looking bored, life will likely intervene and send drastic change our way. If we want to have control over such drastic intervention, then it’s probably best to not look bored. We would likely want to find something pleasant that interests us and dedicate ourselves to its pursuit.

Theoretically then, if we’re on a path to somewhere pleasant, life may attempt to help us along the way, so as to further engage us in the story. Whereas if we have nothing inspiring going on, life really has no way of helping, so it throws whatever it can at us, good or bad, just keeping us preoccupied. Therefore, we should seek a fulfilling path even if the path to find a fulfilling path is the only path we’re on.