“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” - Henry David Thoreau
In life, you see so many people overflowing with potential. They live on the brink of greatness. But for some reason, they often fall short of what they could accomplish.
A quote attributed to Henry Ford says, "Whether or not you think you can, you're usually right."
Having the right mindset is critical for determining your experiences. If you doubt your abilities, you'll fall victim to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Another great quote, this one by Marianne Williamson, goes "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
Why don't more people self-actualize in life? We're bombarded by platitudes like 'believe in yourself' or 'follow your passions'. But these hollow words are hardly helpful.
Instead of seeking answers from gurus, maybe we should find them in our own minds.
We can try engaging in an intense practice of self-questioning:
- If you could do anything, what would you do?
- If you didn't have to worry about money, judgements, or failure...what would you pursue?
- What excites you and gives you energy?
From a young age, we're suffocated by the expectations of schools, family, and society. It's hard to tune out the noise when it's been droning on for so long.
We must get in touch with our own special frequency. This isn't to say that we should blindly follow our instincts in every scenario. Overconfidence has certainly led to many costs and consequences.
We can find confidence is the idea that no one really knows anything.
As Socrates said, "I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing".
Be suspicious of anyone who claims to have the answers. But at the same time, don't reject new information that might benefit your life.
It's a tricky tightrope to walk. As Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
And as Maria Popova suggests, "Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind."
We shouldn't cling too strongly to thoughts or opinions, no matter how comforting they may be.
So this is the state of mind that I so often find myself in. My thoughts bouncing from one profound quote to another, trying to figure out how to process the world around me. It's convoluted and messy, but I write these essays to try and make sense of it all.