Fear(s)

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Fear is a concept many of us struggle with. Some believe the absence of fear is the key to strength. Others believe that everyone has fears, but the true test is whether or not one faces them. Unfortunately plenty of humans among us tend to ignore fear until it becomes all-consuming. What is the correct answer?

Not too long ago my personal belief was in the necessity to eliminate fear from oneself. Currently, what seems like the correct thing to do is to face your fears as you encounter them. It’s not the most Bruce Lee-esque solution, but it seems like the most realistic.

Absence of fear doesn’t seem plausible only because anyone who eliminates their fears will gain new ones. That’s part of the growing process after all. Whatever you lose, whether that be strengths, weaknesses, or fears, can only manifest into something new. Even as loved ones die, long forgotten memories reawaken.

Once, in a video interview, Chris Evans stated something along the lines of “…that’s why I took Captain America. Because it scared me. Maybe the best thing to do is to do what ever your most afraid of.” Of course that quote is quite butchered, but you get the point. It’s  a great concept. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it’ s a concept that comes up often in Stoicism.

Maybe what you fear is actually what you love and you don’t know it yet. And fear, much like love isn’t some force you can conquer so naively. It can certainly be controlled, and that should be enough for anyone. Perhaps it’s time to climb Mount Everest, or you know, get over your fear of dogs. Tiny steps in the right direction ARE still steps after all.

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Blame Game

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Whenever one of these world catastrophe’s seems to happen, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the mourning stops, and the finger pointing begins. Then, like clockwork, the patronization and defensiveness soon follows. Thankfully Facebook, despite having a shit ton of subscribers, only has a small amount of vocal subscribers. Realistically, the vocal outrage ,and the attempts to express love through vocal outrage via internet mediums only serves to show a minuscule slice of humanity. Funnily enough, no arguments ever seem to begin through these mediums.

Well, that’s my observation anyway. People love preaching to their own choirs. Being from a blue state, and living in a red state for many months has given my Facebook feed a nice partisan flourish. Admittedly, this seemed like it might be a cool thing to see about a year ago. Now it just serves to show which friends are addicted to sensationalism.

Politics and news journalism are strange webs to get tangled up in, to say the least. Despite both being inherently deceitful, even if the gains can seem noble at times, no one really wants to believe their brands are deceitful. Coke sucks if you love Pepsi, and vice versa. Everyone sticks to their own fiercely and sticks their heads in the sand.

If you have Facebook, take a look at your vocally political friends. There’s almost never any opposition to what they’re saying. Whether it’s through some sneaky tech stuff, or just human nature, it seems our social circles are often a projection of our  own beliefs. Perhaps this is why so many great thinkers wrote books; they just happened to be THAT lonely.

Rule The World

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Do the intelligent rule the world? Do the brave? Is the world ruled by an evil conglomerate? Maybe it’s a little bit of everything, or none of them at all.

After reading most of the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain and watching the film Dear White People, many concepts of power have dawned on me. Both works establish a bias, or a perceived disadvantage in some way. Susan Cain talks about how introverts are constantly overlooked, and more importantly how introverts can use their natural tendencies to their advantage. Dear White People is partially about the power struggle between white and black students on an Ivy League University campus. But does anyone really rule the world anymore?

Sure politicians have their power, as do businessmen, and investors, but singular rule seems not only like a myth but an interestingly perpetuated one at that. If ever you were considered a highly intelligent person in high school, you were often made to believe that you will go on and the world will be easy for you. As Quiet demonstrates, this is not always the case as introverts tend to do well in high school, but then go on and have a difficult time in the real world. In Dear White People, this is also not the case as most of the character’s do not have that much power, as much as they have perceived power. Adding to that point, is that an earned sense of self-belief completes every character’s story arc.

So is there any validity in wanting to rule the world? Better yet, is there any validity in certain positions having power, or is the power really based on the perception of other people? My belief is that power has much more to do with perception than anything in most cases. Especially in the western world where democracy reigns supreme. Not to mention that many of the men and women who really built a name, and  a powerful reputation for themselves, tended to bend the rules. Perhaps true power is in self-belief and the willingness to stick your neck out for what you believe is the right thing to do.Whether or not the “right thing”, is actually right? Well that depends on perception as well.

The Secrets To Success?

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We all seem to want the advantage, or at least some insider knowledge when it comes to achieving what we want. Naturally, this hunger for secrets creates a huge amount of people selling the secrets. Are they right, are they wrong? Who doesn’t want the answer to that question?

Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Not everyone in western society is born with, or raised into having incredible self-esteem. Also a reoccurring theme in western society is that a can-do attitude, and high self-esteem is more important than talent. That idea is disputable, but it’s inarguable that we place a high value on the self-esteem, and optimism. Two easily definable traits of many extroverts.

Maybe this is why cocaine is so popular. Kidding aside, are there any valid secrets that these self-help gurus, religious texts, and many others espouse? Is every modern success story just a long story of someone who started from wealth, or whose family was already well connected?

No, that isn’t true of every story. Though, when the economy is not doing well the reality is that the people who achieve success more easily will always be the people who were raised by successful, wealthy, people. The only relatable factor in every story, and every self-help book, and so on, is perseverance.

Perseverance to get what you want may be the only thing that is ever relevant. Sure, you need the talent, sure you need the connections, and many other things. No human is going to be great at everything one needs to be a huge, major success. This is why middlemen exist in every facet, of ever day life. Some people are simply better at certain things than other people, and some people will persevere while others give up. Work smart, work hard, whatever your motto is, at the very least you must at least try.