Close your eyes for a moment and consider the following truth. Every thought, every emotion, every fear and every irritation that you had or will ever have sits inside a little piece of meat inside your head. Everything that makes your character unique, whether you choose to be kind or hurtful, helpful or selfish, loving or hateful, arrogant or humble. It all sits inside a little piece of meat inside your head. Everything that you have seen, heard, touched, smelt or felt. It all sits inside a little piece of meat inside your head
From those ideas, we could conclude that nothing really matters because once your little piece of meat dies, everything that you are dies with it (as far as we know) Can we say that your dreams, fears, insecurities, happiness, sadness and doubt are all not real? Let us assume that all your feelings are just figments of your imagination. Does that mean you should go to sleep and not care about anything? You could.. but that’s the boring option. “Nothing really matters because you are going to die anyway”. Most people have said this to themselves at some point but always from a pessimistic point of view. In moments of fear or doubt, the easy way out is “why bother because nothing really matters because you are going to die anyway”. What would happen if you uttered that same statement to yourself but from an optimistic point of view? You would have less fear when approaching situations like public speaking or starting conservations with strangers…because it doesn’t really matter if they all laugh at you or if that stranger ignores you. It seems strange that the same statement can harbour two very different outcomes. Well, that’s where your little piece of meat comes in. Think of a knife. What was the first thing that came to your mind? Based on your experience with knives and how you feel about them, your first thought could have been either negative or positive. You could have imagined cutting a slice of cheesecake and enjoying it with a cup of tea. You could also have imagined stabbing some guy in the chest. Same object but different thought patterns ends with different outcomes.
The idea of your existence having no ultimate purpose or meaning (if you choose to believe in it) doesn’t have to always end with you spending your life asleep and never leaving your room. It could end with you doing things that you have always been scared to do. Things that you have made you say “its fine, someone else is probably better at it so I shouldn’t bother”. As kids, we were always taught to look at the bigger picture if we wished to accomplish a task effectively but for many people the big picture may be too intimidating. Medical school, as an example, is something in which most people almost always end up focusing on the end point. Of course, being a doctor is the ultimate end but it takes about 60 courses and 6 years to get there. What would happen if, for a few moments, we were able to ignore the ultimate goal and focus on the task that we have right now. If you are building a house, just lay the bricks according to the plan. Your goal is not to build a house, your goal is to follow the plan as well as you can and lay the bricks. If you are baking a cake, follow the recipe as well as you can. Your objective is not to bake a cake but rather to follow the recipe and create the best combination of the ingredients. If you are in medical school, your objective is not to be a doctor (as crazy as that sounds). Your objective is to master the course you are working on at the moment. What can we conclude from these examples? Sometimes the ultimate end goal is too intimidating to think about so we should know it exists but keep it in the deepest darkest corners of our minds. We should spend more time focusing on the little tasks that will ultimately lead us to where we need to be or what we need to do. Eventually, you will find that your cake is baked, your house is built and you are a doctor.
A doe is pregnant for 180 days before she has to suffer through the agonising process of giving birth. The “miracle of life” as it is often called. Well, not for her. Her bundle of joy stumbles about attempting to find its feet. Relying only on instinct, the young one must adapt if she wants to survive. The one that she hoped would guide and walk with her through her early days is now flat on the ground with her tongue out and her body covered in blood. The young one realizes that mom only has a few breaths left, she did not survive the birth. Her legs are too limp to function but the young one slowly moves away from the shelter of the tree that was her birthplace. She sees something moving towards her but her inexperienced eyes cannot follow the speed at which this shadowy object is moving towards her. The last thing mom sees before closing her eyes for the last time is her fawn being torn apart by a lion. Her last thought was “Is there any justification for this painful unfair burden called life?”
Life is unfair. People are born disabled, with disease and poverty, just to name a few situations. What these situations have in common is that they all make someone ask why it had to be them? Why do other people have better lives? Why do they have more money? Why do they have more opportunities? Well, I will repeat my topic sentence, in case you missed it. Life is unfair. Many people have dreams that are shattered because of reasons that make no sense to them. Who do you blame? Who do you get mad at? Simple answer is that you shouldn’t get mad.
You can keep your dreams alive even if you are actually unable to live them out. You could help other people who have the same dream and share in their achievements. You could teach someone. Pass on your knowledge. That passion in your heart, that dream that was once the centre of your universe. That dream that you decided was your purpose in life and your reason for existing doesn’t have to go away. It doesn’t have to be a reason you being sad or disappointed because your life has taken a different direction. This new direction will bring new ideas, experiences and mostly importantly, a new purpose. This purpose can only work if you give it a chance. An open door can’t walk towards you, it can only present itself as open. You have to make the decision to walk through because you are not a deer… You are a person with options to adapt, learn and overcome the unfairness that life has thrown at you.
Why do you have so much fear? Why do you assume I will do what they did? I did everything right but I’m forced to make sense of their mistakes. All the fears, doubts and insecurities that they created in your mind and then walked out the door without so much as an apology.
Let me paint a picture. Two people attend a job interview. They were both presented with a question. Person “A” answered in two seconds because he was a genius with a really high IQ. Person”B” took a long time but eventually arrived at the same answer. Who do you think should get hired? Most people would hire person “A” but the point I’m trying to make is not about a job interview. It’s about why a girl would say yes to a guy who knows what to say in the moment when he is trying sweep her of her feet but doesn’t care about her later as opposed to the guy who doesn’t have that magical charm but has committed himself to understanding every emotion, thought and idea that exists in her mind. Is it too much?
You fell for their fake worthless charm. You were free, without fear and doubt until they built a cage of insecurity around you. They didn’t just take away your wings, they made you scared to fly. You saw the world in vivid colour until they not only blinded you but made you scared to see.
Baby bird, before I give you new wings, I will show you the magic of flight. I will replace your cage of insecurity with a sense of belonging. I won’t give you back your vision until I’m able to promise you that everything you see will make you smile.
They make you feel good, don’t they? Cheering you on like you are the most important person in the world. They make you feel like a superstar, like you can take on anything but you are not a superstar. You are a race car driver and the race is just about to begin. Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick your car, it’s chosen for you. If you are lucky, you may get one that can help you win. If luck is not on your side, you may get a car that will stop 5 minutes into the race. Fingers crossed!
Let’s inspect the track. It seems pretty standard, it looks straight, smooth and dry. There are arrows direct directing you around each corner. There are pit stops every few kilometres to help you get your car back in order if you need to. The weather is a mild 27 degrees Celsius with no chance of rain. It looks like the race is going to be a breeze.
One final glance at your cheering fans before you jump into that car. There are thousands of them and they all came to watch you triumph, what an amazing feeling. With all the motivation you can muster and all the fire in your heart, you start that engine and press your foot hard down. The car jolts forward and the force pushes straight back into your seat. You are on your way! First corner, second corner, third corner, this is no challenge. Just follow the arrows and everything will be fine. You wait for the arrow to come into view before you decide how to tackle the next corner. You almost spin out and lose control as you go full speed into a corner which you never expected because for the first time, there was no arrow. You regain your composure and keep accelerating. As you glance out of your window, you notice something strange. The road seems to be getting less smooth and your tyres are kicking up dust and stones. Out of the corner of your eye, you see more and more cracks start to appear in the road. You try to collect your thoughts and prepare for the 5th corner but then you get distracted by something. Its seems quiet and eerily turn your head to the left and notice there are not many fans left. Nobody is cheering anymore. You turn to the right just to confirm your fear. It’s true, the fans are clearing out. Again, you try to clear your mind and focus on the 5th corner. At this point, you’ve realized that there are no more arrows to tell you when a corner is about to come up. Your muscles tense up as you get ready to turn the steering wheel. Just as you are about to take the turn, a massive stone lands straight on your windscreen and shatters it.This causes you to spin out and almost hit a wall. You question how much longer you can participate in this race as you attempt to step out of the car but the door is bolted shut. You take a quick look around, the stadium with all your fans has gradually become a cliff that throws rocks at you. The arrows that once guided your every move are now a distant memory. The road that was once smoother than a silk scarf is now riddled with holes, bumps and cracks. With no motivation and no fire in your heart, you start up the engine and lay your foot gently on the accelerator. The car takes off but not in the exuberant manner that it did before. It feels weaker and more reluctant and so do you. The 7th corner is coming up. You have to get this one right. You blink once. Then twice. Then rapidly keep blinking because you are struggling to see the track in front of you. Blinking didn’t help because the problem wasn’t your vision. The track was getting darker and your entire world seemed to be getting covered by a blanket of some sort. It wasn’t a blanket though, it was the biggest rain cloud ever. Rain droplets started hitting your roof so fast that eventually you could not tell whether you were being hit with a stone or rain water. They blended into each other to form what would be the worst assault your car had ever seen. You accelerated as fast as you could even though you knew that besides the stones and cracks, the road was now also wet. You just wanted to get out alive.
The road was now as black as night but you kept going. For a moment, you closed your eyed and tried to remember the fans and how they made you feel. The arrows that guided you and the initial smooth road that filled you with hope. As you opened your eyes, you found yourself laying on your back. The smell of gasoline filled you with fear. There was glass all around you. That was it, the knockout punch had been delivered. At that point, before you closed your eyes for the last time, you had one last thought “life is an infinite race track which starts out hopeful, it makes you feel brave and powerful. It gives you all the tools you need to survive and then slowly takes each tool away until it beats you”. Your one final realization was “There is no ultimate end to this race, there is only an end for you”. You closed your eyes and became one with the gasoline fuelled flames.Goodnight!
Before you get frantic,hear me out.I remember quite clearly, my primary school teachers constantly trying to sell us on the idea of this dark dungeon place that we would be sent to if we didn’t behave,hand in homework on time,start fights or do anything that they considered”out of order behaviour”.They said it was cold,lonely and scary. To add insult to injury, they said that anyone who entered was never heard of again.We were about 7 or 8 years old at the time so naturally,we believed all their stories.Not only did we believe them,we were terrified to the point where we actually behaved and followed their rules.I’m 22 years old today and I still am in two minds about whether there really was a dungeon..okay..not really.
Based on where you do your research,be it a website or learning from some religious source,you could find many different defintions and ideas for hell.Basically,its the idea that(dont quote me on this) if you commit sins here on Earth,you will burn in a place thats filled with fire forever.Now,theres a few problems with this idea.Firstly,who decides which actions are moral and which are not.Different societies have different ideas of morality.As an example,some societies consider eating meat to be wrong and some say its perfectly fine to mow down a good steak from time to time.Secondly,does it only apply to humans?How does a giraffe avoid hell?Next,If someone doesn’t commit any sins but also doesn’t do any good,they just sort of exist for themselves,where do they go?Let’s talk about the good part for a moment.In contrast to the idea of hell,we have a magical place filled with clouds and fairies where you can float around forever.This idea repeats the problems we faced with hell but in a opposite way,who decides what a good action is?Can animals do good? ..and so on and so on.
It seems then that these ideas are riddled with problems and shouldn’t exist.Right?Well,Let’s consider it for a second,if you believe in the idea of hell,that you will burn forever in fire filled world if you commit sins,let me ask you this.Will you do any wrong?Probably not.Just like the dungeon which we believed in and were consequently led to change our behaviour so as to avoid the dark and lonely place,”hell”follows the same train of thought.If you believe in it,you will change your behaviour so as to avoid it.Whether it really exists or not is irrelevant.All the problems that suggest it shouldn’t exist are irrelevant.What is relevant is simply the fact that it is an idea that is meant to keep you following the moral path in life,whatever path is considered moral in your society.Call it a dungeon,a dark place or hell.What you name it doesnt matter,what matters is the fact that it makes you avoid bad thoughts,actions and words and by doing that,I believe its pretty useful.
What makes you unique?Well,let’s make it as simple as we can.You are born with a genetic code and you are stuck with it whether you like it or not.Okay,so we have genetics as the first thing on our list of what makes you unique.Next would be your experiences.Let’s explore an example.You are around 5 years old,you go out to the park and run into a rather big dog who jumps out at you and almost bites you.From that point onwards,you will probably be scared of dogs and not be fond of visiting anyone who has dogs.You remember that day in the park,don’t you?That brings us to the third thing on our list which is memory.Experiencing things forms memories,these memories shape and influence new experiences and decisions.These decisions will either make you want to go back and do that thing again or stay as far away as possible from it.That brings us to what is(in my opinion) an especially important part of our list,interaction
How many people do you interact with on a normal day?That depends on whether you are an outgoing person or not.Let’s go back to when you were 3 years old.At this age,you were forced to interact with people.You were just rolled around in your stroller and forced to interact with anyone who came right up to your face,pinched your ears and went”goo goo gaga goo ” and they perceived your confused look as”aww,look how happy he is”.What about all the people passing by when you and mum went shopping.Angry people,crazy people,shouting people,happy people,crying people.Your tiny brain had to order all this information into a neat pile.As you get older,you are able to choose who you want to interact with.You can ignore someone who annoys you and spend more time with someone who makes you happy.The point is that these interactions shape you.You are your genentic code, thoughts,memories and interactions.To put it simply,if people are always casting you aside,you will probably become shy and reserved.If people are always shouting at you,your personality will develop based on that.You get the idea.
Let’s talk about the word “mindful” and what it means.Mindful simply means being consciously aware.Let’s consider a real life situation which I myself experienced.I was buying some groceries at a supermarket and noticed a customer being very rude to the cashier because she scanned something incorrectly.The customer was not mindful of the situation,she only considered herself and the fact that she was in a hurry and she had to be rude to the cashier so the transaction could move along quicker.A mindful person would say that the cashier made a mistake with the scanning but she has been standing there for 7 hours and she may be a bit tired so i should take a moment to be mindful,to be aware and allow myself to approach the situation differently.We have already established that these interactions shape us but lets add one more detail.These interactions not only affect us but also the person we are interacting with.Before we say or do something,we should take a moment to consider the impact our decision will have on the other person and the lasting effect our rushed,brash decision will have on someone elses life.Maybe the cashier was ill or someone in her family had just passed on or she was going through a difficult time for some other reason.Let’s remember to always be mindful of our thoughts,what we say and our actions because these are the things that not only shape us into the people we will become but have lasting effects on the people around us and this ultimately shapes the society that we are apart of.
They say don’t peek behind the curtain because you won’t like whats there.Ignorance is bliss they said.Thats a bit of a problem because a baby will always want to play with that wet broken tennis ball that was just chewed up by the dog.What does that mean?..well..you could say we are born curious.What harm could come from that tennis ball?Maybe the baby gets ill or he gets bleeding gums from biting too hard,not the end of the world.right?As we get older,that tennis ball becomes”hey,I wonder if that kid will notice if I borrow a few coloured pencils” to”let me try out this new chat app,whats the worst that could happen” to”I wonder if anyone will notice if I sneak out to that party” to”my girlfriend is acting strange so I should read her texts”.Do you see where our curiosity has landed us?..and we started with a tennis ball..We could say this “curiosity” is a bit dangerous.Lets talk about something a lot of people are curious about..that question nobody can answer.Why should I bother to wake up?Why should I go to school or make friends or learn new things or do anything?
Well,I have a few ideas.We all play video games,right?i,ll paint a picture for you just incase you haven’t.You are playing a video game and your character is a guy (or girl if you like) and you have to guide this character through a series of challenges,maybe some forests or castles.You get the idea,yes?.You also have to level up your character with strong armor for protection or shoes for running.You will also meet people along the way that may have some items that you need like some gold to buy your armor.Lets circle back to the real world.When you are born,you cant walk or talk or eat on your own.You have to start working to level up your character,its just a game.If you are on level 2,stop imagining what level 10 could be like.Play the level you are on.Well,that was one idea,you are a character in a game and to play the game well , you need to keep your character strong and take all the help you can get.The second idea is that you could pick from a choice of two different paths for your life.Some people decide that their lives should be remembered,they should leave a mark.With that idea in mind,they dedicate their lives to contributing to society in their own ways like being a doctor or donating a lot of money to charity or simple things like helping someone cross the street.We could say the world is different because of this person’s life.If this person never existed,the world would be worse in some way.The second path involves people who just exist for their own personal enjoyment.Their idea is”I am here and I want to enjoy myself as much as I can before everything goes black”.That path is also fine.Of course,you could just kind of settle in the middle of these two paths where you balance your “useful” side and your “enjoy life” side.The trick is to do what works for you.How will you know that you picked the right path?well,at the end of life,if you have no regrets..then congratulations you chose correctly.
Basically,the answer to the question about why you should wake up and go outside and do stuff is..well..you didnt think I would give you an answer,did you?Truth is,I can’t give you an answer because my reason for waking up and doing stuff will be different from yours.Everybody has a different answer to that question.I think it helps to know that there is an answer..we dont know what it is but we know that it does exist for everyone.I guess we all want to reach that moment where we say”thats it,I know what to do now.I know why I am here”.We may get lost and struggle to continue but remember,we all started with a wet broken tennis ball and if you are reading this,it means you are curious and that curiosity will take you further and further until that light bulb appears above your head and you figure it all out so it’s time to level up.Dont you think so?