Here is another truth about success. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘Follow your passion or heart, achieve, and make the world a better place?’ You get an education hoping it will help you find what you are good at. Give you some kind of direction. Help you find your calling and of course help you find yourself.
After graduation, you hope to have achieved all these things, but in most cases, most people find themselves more confused. You may want to pursue a master’s in social work, Science, Law, Education, or Medicine but you do not know if this is right for you?
You may have gotten a job or internship in whatever field and you are still groping with the ropes to learn the necessary skills while wondering whether that’s the right place for you!
Some define their path early on in life and make decisions to follow specific paths.
They put into consideration monetary gains, parental or family traditions, or societal definitions of success. Some do find their strengths, work on them and exemplify them, making a success out of that.
Some find their passions and develop expert skills while some find a life plan that suits them and stick to that fully.
Michael Puett, a famous Harvard professor however sees it differently.
Here is another truth about success!
After reading works by Confucius, Mencius, Zhuangzi, and other great thinkers, he comes to a realization that to grow and become better, then we have to ‘overcome ourselves by going beyond the boundaries of what we think we are.
For example, if you are good at hands-on skills, practical work that you do with passion, and you are super good at it, it would be important that you venture into something else that you dislike such as designing or writing.
Sticking to what you know and only that, especially if you did so from a young age, prevents you from developing other things that you may be good at too. It cages you in and hinders your growth.
Puett says that who we think we are, stems from our experience with our environment, which may be social or physical. Our beliefs stem from this, and in some cases these beliefs are erroneous.
It is like an eagle being hatched together with hens and living its whole life being a hen when it can do way more. Living life under the restrictions of who you believe you are since one’s early teens prevents you from really living and keeping your possibilities open.
In the nature versus nurture debate about whether one is born with abilities innate through genetics(nature) or whether the mind and behavior develop through contact with the environment( nurture), Puett seems to lean more toward the nurture aspect.
The human entity is to a very great extent based on human relationships.
Human interactions elicit certain patterns of behavior which in most cases occur passively. After some time, we then react in the same predictable ways.
For example, some comments passively make us angry while others make us light up and smile. Some elicit fear while some elicit anxiety.
A compliment like, “good job” or “I love your dress” immediately lightens up our mood, while negative criticism may make us angry or elicit feelings of insecurity which make us think that we are not good enough. A gesture, whether perceived to be positive or negative, affects us too.
These patterns grow over time and make us label ourselves as being this or that. A negative comment, for example, might make us believe that we are not good enough which might make us feel constantly inferior over time. The opposite happens when you constantly receive praise.
On the other hand, you tend to like people who elicit good feelings and hang around them more as opposed to people who criticize and belittle you often.
Positive and negative moods also have a ripple effect on others. Depending on which mood you constantly have, others are likely to label you as this or that. Over time, passive tendencies become habitual, and over time form our character.
We also get to label ourselves as being this or that.
For example, when we try out new experiences and find ourselves good at them, we enjoy them more because they give us some sense of achievement and do them more often.
We then label ourselves as good at them. When we perform them dismally or badly, we tend to believe that we are not good at them, form a bad attitude towards them even avoid them. We then label ourselves as being bad at them and see them as our weaknesses.
Is there something that can be done? Absolutely! Do those things that you typically wouldn’t do; The things that are typically so not you; Things you wouldn’t be caught doing.
Do those things that you find not pleasurable, things you have to work so hard in, things you are weak at, things you have developed a bad attitude for! Doing this challenges you, helps you understand people, and get a new perspective on things.
By doing this you also break free from who you also think you are by going against the idea of what is really you! Open yourself up to new experiences. Pay attention to interests you think you have no time for.
It expands your life.
Think of it this way. You are likely to have been an eagle who got hatched together with hens, and so you have spent your whole life believing you are actually a hen because no one has ever told you otherwise.
Some other eagle sees you one day and recognizes you immediately and then tells you about your immense capabilities you totally disregard it for some time, but then after some convincing, you try out some things and find that it is indeed true that you have the capability to do them.
Also think of being kinder, more helpful, and happier.
You may have left the house angry at your house help for messing up your breakfast, got to work yelled for stepping on your just polished shoe even though they looked really sorry, and then almost fired the secretary for losing some very important computer files.
You could instead control your feelings and be polite to your colleague. Patiently explain to your secretary that she or he should have done this instead of that.
These moments go against your authentic feelings. They feel fake like we are being nice for politeness’ sake. But then by continuously doing this, it allows you to form a habit. This has the potential to allow you to become a different and better person for a brief moment.
The more you consciously engage in such moments, the more you cultivate yourself. You then learn to control your feelings by becoming better. You will then find out the spectrum of what you are good at then forge on from there.
And as Puetto finally puts it,
“Do not discover who you are, let alone embrace what you find. Instead of embracing yourself, overcome yourself. This is not just how you become a flourishing adult; it is the best way to create a flourishing world.”
But then again, arguably so, specificity in goals is what leads to success. A definite path, followed by determination is what leads to achievement. Why? Because you get to channel all your energy toward something specific. Do things with a certain goal in mind, even as you discover yourself.
I send you love and light!
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Also, I have a book that gives insight into the authentic human power that we all have.
It doesn’t require possessions, class, or position. It is given to us because we just are. We are creations and creators too.
You can check it out on Amazon. It is called, “Do You Know That You Run The World?” written by Mercy June Juma.
Here is the link:Do You Know That You Run The World?
Love, Laughter, Peace, Joy, Prosperity, Abundance