I’ve been writing this blog post for over a week now and can’t seem to write one that explains everything that I want to explain. Though that’s most probably because the topic itself is too general and can be applied to a lot of different situations, so apologies for the scattered thoughts.
The topic of the balancing of two extremes which you can read here: “Life is Simple… or Maybe Not” is so interesting that I’ve decided to delve deeper based on how I understood it. Feedback and opinions are always welcome whether you agree or disagree. This is another one of my documentations which will serve as a future reference for me and hopefully for someone else going through the same struggles of life.
Most of the advices we read or hear from articles and people respectively usually sound simple at first until we either hear too many or make our own realizations along the way that somehow contradict the initial standards we are told to live by. At least that’s what’s happening with me. In my previous post I mentioned that there isn’t an actual blueprint on how we are all supposed to live and that’s because we all experience different things, we all are in different situations. I gave three (3) major contradicting examples I’ve learned in the past year that still confuses me most of the time:
Have the most humility and the most ego
- Be humble. We are all works in progress. We can still learn so much from new experiences. It’s fine to admit that we don’t know something. It’s fine to make mistakes. And it’s fine to know when to take a step back and accept that you need help on something. These sound super easy to do, but actually difficult when our pride gets in our way and won’t let us do any of these. Another example that I’ve thought of is how some actual successful people don’t have the need to be fancy and show off to others how successful they are.
- Be confident. Have the confidence and bravado to go for the thing you want despite knowing that you don’t have the 100% expertise/knowledge/skills in that specific area. We need to have the confidence to take that first step knowing full well we might fail. Everything begins with the first leap/step and that’s how we begin the momentum. There’s this concept that I learned from one of Peter Voogd’s classes: The cycle of potential (not sure about the name if ever it has one) and it goes like this: We all have potentials -> We act upon them -> We create results (can either be positive or negative) -> Eventually becoming our beliefs -> And then forms our Potentials once again -> and the cycle goes on and on. It’s not easy, but we can either lose confidence when we fail or take another step forward (could be towards something else this time or the same goal). Another thought, when dealing with someone especially in terms of business, wouldn’t you rather deal with someone who’s confident over someone who just doesn’t look like he/she doesn’t even believe in him/herself?
Don’t give a damn about what other people think, yet be empathetic at the same time
- Be strong-willed. Every single one of us has the right to have our own opinions. People may judge you for what you do and who you are; we all have to respect that, but you don’t necessarily have to listen to any of it. Pondering and worrying about what everyone thinks of you will only slow you down. Most things around us don’t matter and are just noises. There will always be haters. You can’t please everyone. So might as well do the things that make you happy and don’t give a damn about what other people think about it. Don’t change who you are for how others see the world. No one can define who you are aside from yourself. The less you worry about other people’s opinions, the faster you can focus on things that matter.
- Be empathetic. Here’s the contradiction to the previous one. We also have to know when to listen, who to listen to, and understand where they are coming from. I’m not sure what else to say aside from caring and respecting others is how relationships are built. No man is island as the say. I think we need to care to the point that we can build a community or be part of a community that can provide long-term value to everyone around us.
Be selfish and selfless
- Be selfish. This is a tough one for me, but I’m going for the word that has a negative connotation first since I feel like this will make more sense. Before we can help others we need to be able to make sure that we have the capability of helping others without completely drying ourselves out. We somehow have to be selfish now (to the point that we can stand on our own) so that we have the ability to be selfless in the long term. I always go through this struggle of wanting to help others but when I look at myself, I see that I can’t even figure out how I’m supposed to live my life. But we also have to know when enough is enough. Most of the time we don’t realize how selfish we’ve become until we’ve already damaged a relationship with someone. Everything is a learning lesson and these selfish mistakes of ours help us realize the importance of selflessness.
- Be selfless. It’s weird that I’m beginning with this, but being 100% selfless will kill anyone. So we need to find the right amount of selflessness once we think we are capable of helping someone. I don’t know about you, but there’s this sense of fulfillment whenever I hear someone thank me for helping them (no matter how little) or tell me how much I’ve impacted their lives (in a good way). I have this selfishness in me that I want to be part of every success of people I know. It’s crazy. I think in a way this is just a way of giving back to everyone, especially to the ones that has supported us. It’s about paying it forward. Don’t even bother thinking about helping someone for the sake of getting something in return. I cringe whenever I hear someone indirectly saying that being of help to others is just their second reason for doing something that at the front looks like they genuinely want to help.
Think of these contradictions/learning as the paint colors, the container is the palette, the canvas could be our lives or someone else’s, and we are the painters. We can add or remove colors in our palettes depending on how we want our lives to be and how we want to impact others. No matter how messy our container may be, we have the choice on what to put in it, which color to use, and which color to remove.
Everything I’ve mentioned here are simply the ways I understood and looked at things. There are so much more contradictions of how we are supposed to live our lives. There’s no exact blueprint/answer/solution that works for everyone, for every single situation. We control the controllable and I believe making these choices on how to balance these contradictions is under our control. Take things into perspective, ignore how successful the Kardashians are, ignore how fancy your former classmates are now, and just focus on how you live your life. You are only competing against yourself, and it’ll be a damn long marathon. So don’t worry about the others, focus on yourself, and work.
You know what’s amazing about all of these? All of these are somehow related and connected to each other. I don’t have the exact word to describe it, but as I was writing the examples and explaining how I understood them, I felt like some of my examples can also apply for the others.