There used to be a question that would drive me nuts:
It’s a question young children often ask, about everything.
The reason, the real reason, I disliked the questions was because:
I didn’t have the answer.
Kiddos would ask me about something, “Why do you do this/that?” “Why do it that way?”
And I would get annoyed.
Because I myself didn’t know.
As the older party, I felt like I had to know, it was my duty to know.
After all this time, I should know right?
And knowing that I didn’t know annoyed me. In later times, I would look back on when I myself was younger, and asked the same questions.
The adults back then didn’t have any answers either.
Some of them did have answers, however, they were rattled off quickly and in monotone, therefore I automatically assumed they were not conclusions reached by the person himself, organically.
There was no backstory, or personal life experience behind it.
The answers I did get sounded more like one-size-fits-all propaganda. Really just a sort of gag to prevent more questions.
The kind of thing a junior school teacher might tell a pesky student.
I ate it up back then though.
I was a very impressionable youth, and saw awesomeness in everyone.
Everybody seemed so in control, so cool, calm, and collected.
These life veterans were wise sages and teachers.
They had their shit together.
They knew all the tricks and secrets.
They were at peace and happy with themselves.
Unfortunately for me I was also an observant kiddo.
Not the type to talk much(took me this long to start posting my writing).
I wouldn’t even talk.
I would just sit and watch.
Take in information, and later think about it.
Having a great memory is also a curse as well.
I would get told some piece of information, or life lesson with such certainty, that I wouldn’t even think of questioning it.
After all, this older, wiser person must have lived through it a hundred times.
What I ran into was the:”Do as I say, not as I do” phenomenon.
People would tell me one thing, and later I would see, maybe they knew I was there, maybe not, maybe they had forgotten what they told me, either way, I would see them do something else.
It just didn’t make sense.
I rationalized it away like this: “They are only looking out for me, and trying to set me up to be better”
And that worked for a while, and I followed the advice.
Then a few years down the road I realized people are selfish as hell.
We truly are, as a survival instinct, selfish.
Either inwardly or outwardly, but everyone is. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you have to be well off before you can be generous.
If helping people makes you feel good – you do it.
If something doesn’t make you feel good, and you still do it, well, that creates resentment. It’s even faster if you pretend to enjoy it.
You can either:
A) Find some part of the task/process enjoyably(runner’s high, accomplishments, positive feedback, etc.)
B) Change your mind to enjoy, and be proud of difficulty/resistance (It only makes me stronger! I can work harder! Good learning experience!)
C) Stop pretending to like things you don’t, and stop doing them (and face opinions from the sidelines. Which will come. By the truckloads.)
Back to the subject, if people are trying mainly benefit themselves, why are they saying one thing and doing another?
In the cases I’ve observed, it’s neither.
They just don’t really know. They don’t step back and watch actions objectively, like a bystander.
They just do it.
The philosophy is not applied in real-time.
They act, and do not connect the action/habit with the result.
And the result may be immediate:
Getting drunk and driving your car into a tree at a high speed.
Or it may take decades:
Neglecting mobility work and sitting leads to back issues and loss of mobility.
Either way, these individuals did not conned A to B.
They really didn’t think about it that way.
Doesn’t make them bad people.
Just makes their advice invalid for my use.
With that came the lesson:
Time does not equal progress.
Effort equals progress.
If you sit around, and distract yourself with various things, without focusing, time will still go on.
It really will. Hell, you might even have a ton of fun.
But if there is not progress, and you aren’t trying new or difficult things…
…you are spinning your wheels.
You mind has one foot solidly planted on the gas.
It’s revving up, saying let’s go! I want to learn things, I want to grow, I want to dominate this game of life!
And then there are all those other factors…
The ones that keep your foot planted firmly on the break.
What happens is a kind of grinding, where no forward progress is made, only a bunch of smoke and noise.
But it doesn’t feel that extreme, I’m only painting a picture.
It feels like this: Boredom>Lack of progress>Lack of purpose>No satisfaction>Same day, everyday>Time wasters>Depression.
Reinforcement from others is there, yet there’s no fulfillment (p.s. they are in the same place too).
If age doesn’t equal progress, then age means nothing?
It’s not that black and white, but yes.
There is a matter of experience, but that only goes as far as you’re willing to branch out.
On average, and older person is a bit wiser, but don’t always bet your money on it.
They may be repeating bs advice they though sounded cool 20 years ago.
World’s changed. If you haven’t noticed.
TV and internet blew the whole place wide open.
Someone could film a video in China, and I can view it one second later, in high resolution.
There really are no more secrets, just censored topics and shunned ideas.
For the majority of everything though, it’s a free arena.
Take your pick, and decide whatever you want to believe.
Trust there is plenty of support for anything now.
So what to do with wise words of advice from elders?
Don’t listen to them.
At least, not right away.
Take a hard look at the person, no matter how much you love or hate them. Look at what they have, look at what they’ve done. If that’s something you want to be like, or a place you want to be…
But keep watching too.
If the advice is consistent with action, producing favorable results, by all means, internalize it.
Write it on a sticky note and paste it on your mirror.
Say it to yourself 10 times every morning.
Do whatever you gotta do.
To wrap up this already lengthy post:
Maintain a steady ground.
Through Journaling. Through having various sources of information. Through associating with various successful people.
And decide for yourself to believe whatever you want to believe.
Remember to assess actions for:
Cause and Effect, A leads to B.
Look first, listen second.
Effort equals progress.
Keep at it.
Pick something and stick with it for a year.
Don’t listen to too much nonsense.
All the Best.