Slumped ponderously, my elbow on the desk, and my cheek on my fist. With hefty eyes, seated on a dangerously comfortable chair in a room for 270 students. Bitterly noxious perfume permeated my area from two surrounding women and one man who indulge in its application. The crunching of chips being masticated by a behemoth to my right was almost as intrusive as my hyperactive mind and as silently distracting as the damsel to my left playing Skyrim on her PC. Among this chaos was serenity about fourteen rows ahead. They looked to be having fun, the types that enjoy and excel too. My mind, dancing a languid lullaby with thoughts disparate from the pericyclic reactions lecture ahead but with desires of being elsewhere—in nature.
The art of fitting in today with societal norms include but are not limited to attending college in exchange for time and money to attain knowledge. It is both admirable and impressive to see people conquering this feat, especially those who do so with ease. Success is often motivated by reward, coming in forms such as satisfaction, stability, and wealth. Those with the tendency and predisposition to seek happiness in the now have a harder time than those who invest in the future.
Ever since we were children, we have been conditioned to be slaves to extrinsic influences. Fostered by our caretakers or surroundings to mold our egos based on what we were praised for—usually for doing things the “right” way as dictated by society at large. We adopt already established beliefs instead of formulating our own. Any discerned lack of achievement is assumed to be a lack of talent or laziness. A hindrance to self-worth.
What are realistic factors of self-worth? If it were success I imagine that if Bob is never successful that he would construct a negative self-image, if Bob failed half the time and succeeded half the time, he would reward and punish himself equally, and if Bob were always successful he would develop an egocentric demeanor doomed to crash and burn. None of these sound very appealing or sustainable and may cause anxiety and depression.
So on what basis should we measure self-worth? Flourishing abilities through learning. Endeavors done properly are done with full intent. Unwaveringly committing to situations in order to master our own internal and mental environments without looking for external validation. We are interdependent, possessing a value not determined by comparison. Is our essential value as a human defined by the amount of cash we generate?
Mountains have been the most eloquent teachers in my life. Trees are sanctuaries bearing fruits of truth. Nature, my own pursuit to learn, and surrender to my long history of inability to focus in school have led me to shed many material possessions and live in my truck with my beautiful wife in the name of growth. Ready to rid of expectations to pursue dreams of learning in a home that allows me to be parked anywhere! Trusting in what is and what will be. Trusting in my abilities and capabilities. The difficult but real pursuit of a dream.
Now, don’t take all this unqualified mumbo jumbo to heart.
Look within to embrace discovery.