Feeling a bit blue today, not sure why. But I have had a week of negative realizations. First, I am not losing weight, although I feel I’m doing a reasonable job of sticking to my diet. Second, my quest to make Evolving Monkey a great blog is going very slow. It’s just not clear what to do next. I know keywords are key but I’m not sure what mine are. My mind is blank on this. On the photography front, I received a Nikon D5500 and I love my camera, but I see what others do and I know I’ll never get anywhere that good. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to photography to be great at it. Those National Geographic guys, I’m watching their Great Courses Plus classes, take pictures that are art. I’m reading a novel series about Percy Jackson who is the son of Poseidon, the Greek . It is such a well written and balanced series of novels. They are quite good. I find it hard to see myself doing that well as a writer. Also, I’m getting old. I’ve started so late.
What I need is a new outlook. I need to stop comparing myself to others, and simply try to do a really good job. I want the outlook that leads to the best life to be simple, like investing. The best thing to do when investing is to by an indexed fund of a fund and put everything in it. Very simple. I’m afraid life is not so simple.
Going around telling myself I am as good as everyone else takes a lot of energy. I wonder if it might be simpler to tell myself that I don’t have to be as good as everyone else. That it is okay for everyone to better than me. Maybe, but I’m not sure.
I was thinking earlier that maybe it would be easier to think that I am not special and neither is anyone or anything else. We are not special. No one is. In a sense that is true. From a big universal view point, nothing is more special than anything else, meaning, I think, that nothing is special. But to humans, humans are special. I’m sure dogs find other dogs to be special too.
And I know we all want to feel special and important. We work so hard to have that feeling of being special and important. Somehow though, I very much want to let go. I think of that novel called Illusions by Richard Bach. I want life to be like that. I’m tired of expending energy trying to be what I think I should be. But what is the better way? I think the novel Illusions is mostly a fantasy. But it does illustrate my fantasy.
One thing I’m thinking about is how much control do I have over what I can achieve. I do have some, but not nearly as much as I wish, or most people think. Simply trying hard is not enough, I need the support of other people. Often, I need the support of well-connected people, which does make a difference. Yet, I can’t make other people do what I want them to do. Perhaps if I’m a fast talker, which I am not, I might trick them into do it, but that is a short-term solution at best.
I do believe it is important to believe that each person is special, because that means it is wrong to use other people or take advantage of them or harm them. We are all equally special. No one is more special than anyone else. We all matter. I think what this means though is that we’re all special in a legal, human rights, sense. We are not special in a “I’m better than you” sense.
Which is perhaps good because I can’t control how good other people are. I can’t even control, not always, how good I am, no matter how hard I try.
So what is the right attitude for getting the most out of life?
- I think admiring great works, whether mine or someone else’s, is perhaps the first attitude.
- But how hard should a person work? Should they work hard or just relax as much as possible?
- And what about competition? We love competitive sports and games. And it’s hard to see anything wrong about that.
- On one hand it seems we want to be special and feel important, we enjoy competitive sports and winning, but on the other hand, comparing ourselves to others does not seem a good strategy.
I believe a dual attitude is needed. I believe that first we should aspire to the best we can do. We should work hard to get what we want if it is good. It is okay to have goals and work for them.
But on the flip side of that, we must be will to accept disappointment. We must encourage, enjoy and admire the successes of others. And we must be okay with failure. We must not judge our worth by our successes.
We must do our best and work hard, and let go of the results. Hope for the best but not be devastated or surprised or upset if / when we don’t do so well.
This may sound good, however, if our self-worth is not determined by our successes, if we are braced for failure before we even begin, why bother. If we are no better if we succeed than if we fail, why even try? What do we achieve by trying?
We achieve enjoyment in the process of doing our best. The process of trying is the important thing. Yes, winning or achieving is nice, but it is the process that matters. If you enjoy what you are doing, the process of doing it, then winning and success are only a secondary issue.
I’ll admit, I hate the duality here. Duality is always more complicated than a singularity. But the duality is inescapable. In my case I want to write a great novel and develop a great philosophy. I do enjoy the process of doing this. I want to succeed and I’d like to do it as well or better than anyone else. But I must accept that this may not be possible, or even necessary. I’ve set my sights so high, and talent is so average, and I’m aging fast, so I must be prepared and accepting of not succeeding. But if I enjoy the process does it matter?
I’m not sure this duality is the best answer, but for now it will have to do.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill