Standing Alone

I am sure we can all agree that this world is obsessed with quantity, especially in one’s social life. We are often bombarded by sometimes unuttered questions such as: How many followers do you have? How many likes did you get?

Do you know that those social media apps could die? Most will eventually. The likes that we seem to live or die for will not last forever. 

Just like Digg. Now you can read titles like this about the platform:

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The same goes for the endorsement we feel we need from certain peers in our social circles. People come and go in this life. C’est la vie. My challenge to you is be intentional about who you want to hang around for the long haul. Seek quality people to do life with you. However, if you don’t find a character suitable at this moment, please don’t settle! Stand alone and run your own race! The validation of others isn’t worth potentially violating your principles – and if you can’t stand alone, that is exactly what you will do. When the character that you decided to cleave to puts you in a position where you need to choose their pseudo-loyalty or a principle you have, if you can’t stand alone, you’ll violate it. And all that’s going to do is place you further away from the standard you want to reach. But if you have the wherewithal to go it alone in that situation who knows how far you’ll go.

At the peak of the steepest mountains there’s very rarely room for two.

See you tomorrow for Meek Means Freedom.

We Are Not In This Together

If you were a teen or younger during the late 2000s you probably know of the famous High School Musical song. It’s full of youthful enthusiasm and pubescent fever but if we’re honest with ourselves the message is errant. We are not in this together. Before you pick up your pitchforks I’ll let you know I’m not afraid of sharp objects… just please make sure the prongs aren’t rusty, tetanus ain’t pretty. Human beings need a social life – that’s a given, however the assumption that numbers = completion is mistaken. Each genuine relationship formed requires some form of investment. The word investment means ‘taking something out of you’. Unless you are a deity, the amount of ‘something’ you possess to give is limited. When that pressure makes you reach breaking point you’ll probably become stressed (coz that is what stress means).

Good news! You don’t get stressed by an investment that you know pays you back! I’m not saying do things for people because you know they will pay you back, but I am saying that you don’t want to prioritise people and place them on a pedestal with responsibilities and expectations they will not fulfil. Doing so opens you up to a world of hurt. My suggestion? Spend time analysing people’s characters assessing their traits and measuring them up to the traits you would want in a close friend. Come to the realisation that once you make a decision, you own it – therefore be ok with the consequences of the negative traits you choose to overlook. Then approach those quality people and let them know where you wanna place them in your hierarchy of life – when you are both in the know of what you expect from each other you become accountable for how you behave and you don’t experience the conflict of expectations and reality misaligned. What about those other people in your life that it wouldn’t be so wise to invest all of your time in? You can keep ’em as acquaintances.

See you tomorrow for ‘Standing Alone’.

Doomsday: The Ultimate Role Model

In this, the penultimate post of my Comparison series I would like to address a trait sometimes replicated by popular DC Comics villain Doomsday – ‘adaptation’. It is with this trait that he killed Superman. In the last posts I talked about the adverse effects of comparison and how being grateful for the wonderful traits of others could benefit you. Once you reach the place of being grateful for the uniqueness of others and once you build up your self-esteem, (which is the upcoming series on character building titled ‘Individuality’), you can evolve an ability I like to call ‘quirk acquiring’.

I follow a Japanese comic called ‘My Hero Academia’ in which members of that world have a certain ability called a ‘quirk’ often unique to them. I believe that this is a fictitious extrapolation on real life. Upon attaining gratitude for others’ ‘quirks’ I began to observe things people around me did better than everyone else. I’ll use four of my peers as examples.

Twins Galen and Niki, though identical, display similar as well as drastically different traits. They both possess unbelievably brutal honesty, which is not always attractive in this age, but I came to realise that it was easier to trust them because you knew they  wouldn’t lie to you. In fact, they would tell you upfront when they were uncomfortable having a discussion about something and shut it down completely, a very odd but refreshing trait when I first encountered it. Individually, Galen has an intense focus in goal-setting and achieving. No matter how many times he fails to get a certain model working he’ll try again until he’s mastered it; in that he is very inspiring. Niki meanwhile has an incredible eye for detail as well as a clear view of the bigger picture. More often than not, he would console me (yea me, the perennial encourager) when I fell at a hurdle and point out how one failure did not mean my life was a dud. Alex has mastered setting priorities, therefore if you have to talk to him you have to let him know well in advance. This therefore means that no deadlines catch him by surprise. Lastly Joseph is what I term the King of Time Management. The man has about a dozen leadership roles and a million responsibilities and yet while performing these roles admirably he is simultaneously acing his engineering degree. Since I passed the point of comparison and jealousy of others’ traits and gained an appreciation of them, I’ve been able to notice them more and more… resulting in the Doomsday’s special ability, ‘quirk acquiring’. Now don’t get me wrong, I can never be Len or Niki or Alex or Joseph – that’s not my job, that is not my purpose. I’m not advocating becoming a chameleon and blend in wherever you go, mirroring every character you encounter. I am saying that in this case I can take those traits that I like from them, see how they apply them and use them for myself to meet the standard of man I want to become. In doing this I develop a much fuller character than if I lived an isolated life – a certain ideal… and with that we segue perfectly into tomorrow’s post: Living the Standard Life.