Back in the day, I used to have a healthy obsession over personality tests. I would spend hours at 16personalities and just revel in reading all of the types, whether they were accurate or not for some people. This fascination further fueled my belief on how singular every person is.
I love how the little idiosyncrasies add up to every being, making them so one of a kind. This is a reality that should be cherished and respected, regardless of what quality stands out on someone.
Still, what might be a quality to some, may be a flaw to others.
Let’s work with examples.
Being a sensitive person — like myself– has its peaks and valleys. At the same time I’m being told I’m a dreamer, I may hear “I’m such a dreamer”. Notice the difference? It could be a lovely compliment or a nasty insult, it all depends on the view towards it.
Truth is, to borrow from Amélie Poulain, “times are hard for dreamers”. For idealists, for creatives of all kinds, they are. Although they’re undoubtedly easier due to the improvement in the distant connection between people, it’s still not a piece of cake.
See, it’s hard to grow up nurtured by the idea that we can be anything we want, and then have it snatched away from us. It’s everywhere! Movies, music, even toys. It feels as though our imagination is only allowed to flourish until a certain point, then we’re whacked by a realistic sucker punch and left to our own devices. As though only children are allowed to dream on.
As time flies by, that “magical” notion dwindles. We become adults and everything becomes practical. We’re sent from one mentality to another, cold turkey. We’re told that we can’t be anything we put our minds to, after all, that’s not how the real world functions.
In essence, we’re raised on a concocted fairytale that must be abandoned at a determined age, otherwise adulthood is not yet accomplished and we won’t be a fit for the modern world.
Many people yield to this idea, unaware of how each person’s mindset is affected by their surroundings. Those who acquiesce will only contribute to this cycle.
No worries. Nothing that years after years of despised day jobs won’t fix, am I right?
People Are Contributors to Standards
Take a close look at the people around you. The world has turned into a giant printer!
It’s no wonder phones are fabricated in identical models like hot cakes and no one seems to complain: it matches the personalities people are striving for — a carbon copy of all the other ones.
I like to call it the “ordinarization” of society, the fact that so many individuals pursue a certain identity for the sole purpose of being a part of the “real life” game. Of course, they’ll grind and stand out at what they do, as long as it doesn’t make people go “wait…that’s what you do for a living?”.
Sadly enough, that mentality is lodged into more brains than we can imagine. For instance, the thought that there’s an undivided amount of space for each person to follow the same exact path.
Much as it’s unlikely that every single creative will make it big out there with reasonable effort, it’s also improbable that everyone will be fit for a suit or medical coat. You know, some of us look better in paint-stained aprons, or even in our pajamas.
These spreading misconceptions have started somewhere, they haven’t simply materialized out of thin air. That makes me wonder if the very first being to discourage someone based themselves off one or two occurences known to them, then proceeded to infect generations with the idea of impossibility.
Thereby, this wicked natural selection took advantage of the self-conscious ones, who complied without a fight. Is it their fault they didn’t square up facing adversity? Maybe. Because the fall is oftentimes stronger than the will to get back up.
That’s why I wish I’d known sooner that each person is a collection of their past encounters, conversations and experiences.
One Person, Countless Sources
It’s highly unlikely that we are born with ourn own set of thoughts and pre-selected opinions. Prove me wrong. Whatever we know or believe in today, we got from somewhere, someone, somehow. Not just one or two people, but the mingling of concept which further results in the amalgam that is our stock of information. That is, of course, until something happens to bug the whole system, something that defies our preconceived notions and paradigms. After all, we won’t believe it if we don’t see it, right?
Truth be told, I’m not much of a bookworm. However, a book I have recently finished reading was You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney, which has definitely fueled my curiosity about the complexity of the human mind. Interestingly, a few chapters resonate well with the topic I’m discussing.
In the chapter named “Availability Heuristic”, the author uncovers the false impression of knowledge based on one’s personal view — which may not be that personal, after all.
“The tendency to react more rapidly and to a greater degree when considering information you are familiar with is called the availability heuristic”.
Agreed. Judging by the people I know, I can assure you that three of them (at most) have heard of a familiar person who has a successful creative career. By that, I mean they either heard it from a friend or don’t even consider that as success in the first place. In order to trust its possibility, like a ghost, they must witness it. No data will do that for them.
In short, people don’t want their beliefs defied, which is exactly what we do by thinking outside of the box.
The “F” Word
Relax, there’s a bright side among misfortune, there always is. For instance, there may be those who will be our lucky charms whenever we’re unable to be confident in our own journey, those who will freeze us in our weakest times so we won’t surrender to the pressure.
You’d be surprised with how many opportunities are missed due to fear of all types, this diffuse sensation of hopelessness that drains a great percentage of potential success. In fact, you may already have experienced it yourself.
Truth is, so much credit is denied — from ourselves, by ourselves — that most of us would rather take anybody else’s opinions as undeniable certainty, whether they know about our business or not. Why even bother trying anything that verges the outside of normalcy? You’ve never seen anybody make it, anyway.
Boom. Before you know it, you’re rolling in the snowball with tons of others who think the same way. The good news is, you can wiggle your way out of there and shrink that giant.
As for the bad news, fear won’t fade over the years. It may oscillate with the passing time, but it will linger with its partners — doubt, occasional self-loathing and so on.
You can either let it sit on your lap and continue working or slam the door and infuriate it. It’s up to you.
You Heard Shia Right: Just Do It!
First, it’s the “wait until you get into college” trap. ‘Cause let’s face it, we all boast spare time when we’re in college, right? Wrong. Then, countless other hurdles spring up and hinder your progress. Bummer.
There’s always something to be done. If it isn’t about college, some other occupation will fill in the gaps. We’re always busy with something.
Still, we make time for stuff that seem like the most important at that moment, no matter if they add to our personal growth or simply take up our time, like the jobs we despise but need so badly.
That’s how dreams get thrown to the “later” pile. With bustling lives and constant discouragement, we’ll see about that book, that painting, that other thing in a few months…or years from now…until it consumes a whole lifetime.
If the next minute is incognito, tell me about the next few years! At least a taste of doing what you love is well deserved. But it has to matter to you, and only you.
In that case, ordinariness should be crossed out of the list. Everything seems impossible until one’s ambition shatters the patterns.
That’s why I say, if it matters, don’t wait too long. Start small and don’t strive for abstract perfection. I’ve figured that doing things — particularly art — out of sheer pleasure is rare these days. Loving what you do is rare these days, and out of love emerges the best work.
“This is not how the real world works”.
Let’s not forget we’re billions of people, each one with a different world within.
Stories need to be told, art needs to be seen in an era that seems to be made of concrete.