I’ve always found that there is no shortage of people to advise you on what to do in life, but very few that can show you how. I see people telling each other all the time to be happy, don’t stress, be confident, don’t feel overwhelmed, and so much more, but every single time I’m reminded of how such advice is almost entirely pointless unless the recipient is clearly aware of what they’re doing to get them into that unpleasant state to begin with. But we’re so used to taking comfort from distractions that even now when presented with such empty advice we find comfort in it. Not because the advice is useful, but because it implies that someone cares enough to notice that we’re not in a pleasant space. How fickle.
Fickleness is pervasive. But like I always maintain, pervasive ignorance should never be mistaken for collective wisdom. Just because we are able to console each other with vague gestures of compassion or concern does not mean we actually do care. We give more of ourselves when we share the lessons of the weaknesses we hold, or have succumbed to, than when we hand out trinkets of wisdom that merely embellish the façade of composure or success that we wish to present. Because that is exactly what it is. I’ve found that when I grow oblivious to my ego due to a lack of attention over an extended period of time, I quickly develop a deep seated confidence in my overt state as being the real me. What I present to the world I am convinced is in fact what I embrace within. Fortunately something or someone usually comes along to challenge that assumption of mine which leaves me unsettled enough to recede while abandoning my pompous disposition.
The problem lies in the how. But beyond that, the bigger problem lies in our lack of courage to embrace the reality of how unaccomplished we truly are. When we accept that we have achieved less than we were able to achieve regardless of our best efforts or greatest reasons for having been hampered in our endeavours, only then will we be truly open to learning more than the average life teaches us. I am constantly reminded about how late in life I am gaining the realisations that would have served me well much earlier in life. At times I dismiss it as being irrelevant because my mishaps and failures groomed me into who I am today, ignoring the arrogance that accompanies such a profession, at other times I wonder how much further along this path I may have been had I started out learning some of those lessons from the mistakes of others instead. That would have set me off on a firmer footing that I could have developed further, as opposed to finding it out for myself. It felt like life wasted away in those moments, but my gut suggested otherwise.
I look at those that are gluttons in their search for knowledge and devour volumes of the sciences of varying interests achieving a state of professional regurgitation and eloquent verbosity, while struggling to apply even a fraction of the gems of wisdom that were revealed between the covers that they repeatedly cracked open purely focused on ingesting, with very little emphasis on applying. Perhaps what restricts our ability to apply the knowledge we have acquired is not necessarily our inability to grasp its essence as needed, but instead it is our insecurity in our ability to execute what it demands that drives us towards complacency, or more accurately, meekness.
Insecurity is not only unattractive, it is repulsive. Quite literally as well. I find myself repulsed by those that are chronically insecure because of the burden of expectation and indulgence that they solicit, with very little to offer in return. The insecure polarise towards each other and establish circles of back-slappers that reassure each other about their distractions so that the façade they maintain is strengthened through collective practice. The secure ones are often found in smaller groups, if in groups at all. They are the ones that hold a conviction in their beliefs and perspectives which lend them an insight into the frailties of the former group, which in turn prevents them from seeking the validation of those that appear to prevail.
The masses are weak. By their very nature they thrive on validation and affirmation. They reciprocate in great measures because the exchange is a self-sustaining cycle. It is possible to go through an entire lifetime needing nothing more, and that is perfectly acceptable, unless you are inclined to change the world in your wake. If you wish to improve the state of your self, and in turn, the state of those around you, being a meek member of the masses is never an option. You will thrive on understanding how you found yourself in that pathetic state that jolted you into action, rather than cringing at the thought of being seen as weak.
The rabbit hole of insecurity is a deep maze that allows little light in. It sets us on a course of distraction that leaves us oblivious to the destruction or even the injustice that we leave in our wake. Courage is defined by our conviction to act on the values and principles that we subscribe to. Those values and principles can only be sufficiently formulated if we choose to see the world with a critical mind. Blindly following others is a symptom of disease. Not only does it rob you of your agency to act consciously, it denies those around you of the value that you are supposed to contribute in their lives and towards their growth. Insecurity is a convenient exit clause from the harsh reality of life. It is a choice, and nothing less. But because it is probably the most common choice made, we have fooled ourselves into believing that it is in fact human nature. If it were human nature, it would not leave us diseased with fear, ill health, and impotence.