Swimming has returned!! Just wanted to share this Will Smith video and my thoughts on the highlights since my head is spinning and I can't sleep: http://youtu.be/pfWGoLj1JCM
(1) "I know who I am and what I believe and that's all I need to know."
-I will soon be leaving my 20s behind (~1 year from now) but not with a better sense of who I am necessarily. This is, in part, due to the fact that I am realizing that certain beliefs I've held are not my beliefs at all, but rather a byproduct of societal conditioning. I am now working to reframe those beliefs. This is immensely difficult; part of what I have spent my 20s struggling with is discovering that the ideology behind our current counterculture generation is actually not progressive and may in fact be detrimental. Our society may appear more progressive, but this progress has not necessarily begat any increase in happiness. (http://ftp.iza.org/dp3624.pdf). Many of our societal beliefs are actually completely unfounded: what we think is good for us is actually not good at all. (There are a plethora of examples here, but some major ones are our food culture among other social conventions. These are riddled with misconceptions). We blindly follow the norms without question to what it is doing to our health let alone our happiness. We are in such a hurry to keep up with the herd, that we rarely stop to investigate the truth for ourselves.
To cut this short--I am lucky to have awoken from this blissful ignorance. (PK has significantly helped with this process and THANK YOU!!). I now attempt to seek the truth on my own and unveil the fallacy in certain beliefs. I do this by reading voraciously and constantly from numerous resources, but I also seek the truth by attempting to understand the human condition of others. Upon some introspective reflection on this information, I ultimately to reframe my beliefs. What I have realized is that going against the grain is never easy, but I am trying to develop the backbone to stand up for what I believe in anyway. The hard part is when you go against the grain in multiple aspects of your life. I still do not know how to deal with this. The outcome is to either give in (which for me would entail significant ramifications to my health and wellness) or to stick to my beliefs (all-the-while being malleable when new information should compel me to reconsider things). The latter has left me and some of my closest friends somewhat alienated from our age cohort. I guess stay-tuned to see how we ultimately reconcile this.
(2) "the separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts...skill is only developed after hours and hours of beating on your craft"
"Your talent is going to fail you if you are not skilled"
-I have ranted about this before I'm sure, but I refuse to buy into the myth of natural talent. I LOVE this article that debunks this societal fallacy: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/
Basically, (1) our society loves to praise for natural talent. If you are good at something we automatically assume you should pursue that endeavor and not venture into something that will be difficult for you (2) our society believes that pursuing said natural talent will ensure success. Why? Because you won't have to expend effort. "Expending effort is stigmatized...it means you can't cut it on your natural gifts"
Anyone who has achieved excellence in any field knows that the above is nonsense. There are a few things I am certain of: (1) nothing worth having comes easy (2) I can achieve what I want by trying my best especially after any failure (3) what I want to achieve I am willing to put in whatever effort is necessary or die trying.
(3) "you don't set out to build a wall, you say I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every day and soon you will have a wall"
(4) "I want the world to be better because I was here."
(5) "if you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time"
(6) "Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."
(7) "you can't be scared to die for the truth. The is the only thing that is going to be constant"