Although the world is cruel at times, we determine how well we thrive. There are significant differences between existing, living and thriving. Existing means simply being a biological organism, taking in food, robotically walking to work and coming back, and then switching on the TV to watch the next episode of a show until you are too bored and fall asleep. Living is different. Living means actually enjoying your time in this world, doing things you are passionate about, and being aware of your existence. And thriving would be the ultimate happiness -- regardless of how bleak the world may be, we are resilient and optimistic. We live an exciting life everyone else is jealous of -- we are living our dream.
Our personality, choices, actions, and how we view the world together determine what kind of life we end up having.
When we were young, we did exactly what we wanted to do. We did not care about what our actions meant for those around us, or what chain of events our choices could set off. When we wanted something, we asked for it, without actually understanding what lengths our parents and teachers had to undergo in order to meet our demands. To the young us, life was quite easy and the world was not really a bad place.
As I grew older, I also came to understand more of what the world was truly like. I learned that being innocent was not a virtue, but a crime. The price of my young innocence was always paid by someone else. And yet, when I finally entered society, there is no longer someone to clean up after my mess. I had to mature and navigate the complexities of society to survive. I did not have any other choice. Because there is not a single place in the world where I could be completely carefree and bubbly --unless someone else is protecting me, or in other words, paying the price for my innocence. And I did not want that.
It is extremely difficult to change the entire world, so if I wanted to get what I wanted from the world, I had to gain the skills necessary to traverse this complex world. At the very least, it is easier to make myself fit for the world (or even beat it), than to change the world itself.
You are not changing yourself, but letting your exteriors adapt to the rapidly changing world. Nonetheless, deep inside your heart, it is alright to keep a sanctuary just for the true and natural you. And in that same sanctuary, it is also fine to reserve a place for the people you love and the people who love you.
There probably will not be many people who get to see this side of you, because most people in the world do not actually care about you. Once you come to terms with this fact and are alright with it, only then do you become strong and graduate from gullibility. Because you come to understand that all you need to live a meaningful life is yourself and something you are passionate about. Some people find this passion in another human, other find it in religion, and still others are obsessed with a particular hobby. Unless if the meaning of your life is the entire world’s acceptance, there is no reason to stress over the fact that you cannot be absolutely genuine with everyone.
For me, I want to be that person who experiences all the sorrows and challenges of life, be mature and wise on the outside, and on the inside maintain that pure and genuine me.
Many people also underestimate the power of our free-will. The only thing they have ever known and lived in, is a society that has societal norms telling us what is okay to do and what is not. In order to fit in, there is immense pressure on the human soul to conform to these beliefs. Some of these general beliefs include, but are not limited to: not taking risks or minimizing risk; sticking to a made choice, especially a career path; or possessing the idea of absolutism--that any theory holding beliefs or values are absolute, unchangeable, and permeating.
But that is wrong. I view this conformism as society’s way to constrain people's free-will so that they can live like cattle. It is probably a good means for higher powers to control common folks, but I do not personally believe anyone should have the right to infringe even so slightly on our original selves.
You never have to stick to living out only one choice you made. In other words, you can make a choice today, and make a completely new choice tomorrow that leads your life on a completely different path than the one you were on yesterday. There is no dead end nor are you forced to go down a single path for the rest of your life. No choice is powerful enough to lock you in a single path for the rest of your life. You can break out of it and choose something else if you realize you disagreed with the consequences of the first choice (even if you just wanted to explore a new path).
Einstein once said that success is 1 percent talent and 99 percent effort. This is a very simplified equation, as there are many other factors which may limit how much we are able to do -- the social class we are born into, our physical capabilities, our family, and the changing of the world. Still, at the same time I think a lot of people underestimate how much impact our effort do have.
The greatest challenge to effort is often taking the first step.
The world is so big and it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that nothing we do will have an impact on the world. At this thought-process intersection lies two kinds of people. One type wants to make an impact on the world and get their name out there; they want their life to be meaningful and one way of measuring their worth is by how many contributions they make to the world. A lot of these people turn out to be heroes and amazing political leaders. Many of them were able to rise above the rest because they fulfilled their mission. Sometimes, it only takes a burst of confidence in order to do something reckless, and that recklessness may turn into fame.
Another kind of person is the kind who lives for themselves. They do not care about how the world views them or becoming a successful and recognized figure. They just want to live their lives to the fullest and enjoy their time on earth. These people often include travelers, artists, writers and religious devouts. Although their names are not passed down through history, life couldn’t have been any better for them, and they were able to live their dreams because they shirked off societal expectations and pursued their dreams.
Regardless of what type of person you are, or if you are a third or fourth or a mixture of all kinds, what is important is taking action upon your dream. I believe we all have dreams, and if you do not have one yet, do not give up because if you continue looking, I bet you will find one. What is hard is to live that dream since your journey is bound to be filled with hardship and setbacks. To pursue your dream relentlessly and overcome each and every burden is difficult, but doing so also differentiates a human being who is simply existing, and a person who is actually living their life. When all of these efforts eventually culminate to success and your life seems to have meaning, then you are thriving.
To me, the word impossible does not exist in the dictionary.
How we view the world
Granted, the world is not a perfect fairyland. It is so easy to focus on all the negatives and impossibilities that it is so difficult to overlook the happy little things. I am happy because I can wake up everyday, I am happy because I can feel the warm of sunshine on my face, I am happy because I have the desire to live. And once you do find something you are passionate about, the happiness in your heart will only magnify. This is also why I travel -- I want to find and see all that is beautiful in the world, and show them to those who chance upon my writing or blog.
I will conclude with an ancient saying that goes like this: how you think determines your action, your actions determine your habits, your habits determine your personality, your personality determines your fate.