(Friday Filosophy 6/23/23)
Happy Freakin’ Friday!
Aloha from Hawai'i! When I wrote the essay two weeks ago about The Power of the Pause, I paused halfway through and booked a getaway to follow my own advice. If you're new here, each week I send a postcard to you with a question, topic, or challenge to contemplate. This week let’s talk about crappy advice.
The number of people living lives of mediocrity, quiet desperation, even loud desperation is deeply troubling. (The depression, drug use, and suicide statistics bear this out.) A Grand Canyon's worth of it is caused by accepting the premise of two different types of terrible advice.
The first and most prevalent is the belief that you should try to fit in. This starts by the time you're two years old and only accelerates as you get older. Every person seeking greatness in any area will be confronted with an army of people fanatical to maintain mediocrity. Mediocrity is a crime against humanity and an insult to the force that created you.
The second piece of terrible advice I see frequently is to "be yourself." (And I'm guilty of suggesting this in the past.) The reason I know longer advocate for this is because the concept has been highjacked and most of the time today it means "settle." And often this translates to settle for mediocrity.
I'm all in for people living their individual, authentic lives. But telling yourself that you're being "body positive" instead of acknowledging that you're morbidly obese can end your life prematurely. Taking pride in the fact that you never changed no matter how hard your four ex-spouses pleaded with you to may not be a great as you think. I used to think that doing seminars where I was confrontational, insulting, and arrogant was just me being me. And that's true. I was just me being me, a confrontational, insulting, and arrogant jerk.
Just being you is a recipe for stagnation; a lack of movement and growth. A life without challenging yourself is a life without purpose or meaning. Leave the advice of fitting in or just being you in the past; it no longer serves you. Replace it with a philosophy of becoming the highest possible version of yourself.
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