You know, it’s hard to put together a 30-second elevator pitch when there is so much more to me than 30 seconds. Should I tell you about my childhood, my college career, what happened to me after all of that, or what hobbies I like?
(Meh, I’m not even going to try…)
Those anecdotes would be fun and enlightening in a way, but what I really want you to know is that I am someone who has always questioned things. Not the type of questioning that leads an angsty teen to rebel and clash with her parents, but the kind of questioning that leads a girl to pour through the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Dictionary, and just plain old raiding the library before the internet was even a thing. You know, the eternal search for Who, What, Where, When, and Why?!
I couldn’t understand, at a young age, why my parents would insist I always did things their way, even if “their way” didn’t occur to me first, or always make sense to my way of thinking. But I did know that I felt bad incurring their displeasure, and so I made it a goal to anticipate what I thought they would want me to do. You know, it’s crazy, I didn’t have a problem letting my grade 12 teacher know when he was wrong, or that there was a different way to interpret that passage in Macbeth. There is just something about parents that gets into our heads and their voices never leave your mind. In my case, I spent many years listening to those voices, and trying to make their decisions, but at what cost? Even as an adult, I listened…maybe a little bit too long.
This isn’t a blog about parents, or venting about anger towards my parents, but this experience from my life has brought about a personal realization that fits into what I want to do here.
Sometimes we take upon ourselves the weight of other peoples choices and make them our own. They may be friends, family members, social media acquaintances, work colleagues, or any number of persons we meet throughout our lives. We try to make the decisions that we think they would make, instead of the ones that we deep down want to make ourselves. We might be afraid of failure as others might define it because we can’t even conceive of what success by our own definition might entail.
Or maybe not. Maybe you are someone that has already figured yourself out and have already taken responsibility for your own decisions and life path.
To you, I commend!
It is my goal to pull back the covers on things that we might take for granted when we make choices and decisions. Most choices that we make come from a subconscious assimilation into the culture into which we were born. I know from my days of huddling under a blanket over the heater in my living room reading the encyclopedia A through Z, that humans all over the world have taken Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and interpreted it in unique and marvelous ways. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t just the encyclopedia that taught me that. In one of the boldest moves of my life, I chose to focus on Anthropology in University instead of something that would provide me with a heap of marketable skills. It wasn’t a choice that my parents agreed with. And yet, everything I learned in each and every one of those classes resonates with me still– humans are mysterious and complex creatures with an unlimited ability to express themselves. I don’t think my college career was a waste, in other words. I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made, even if it went against the subconscious assimilation of family culture that I had adopted as my own.
Probably one of the most important take-aways from my college days was the ability I gained to look at a group of people–from Renaissance re-enacters, to businesses, to tribal groups living on islands–to find their framework.
What do I mean by “framework”?
This is where I get giddy because my friends, order and chaos are my absolute favorite things to talk about.
Humans are naturally driven to order their chaos.
Just think about a pile of laundry that has come out of the dryer. Your fingers practically itch to fold that laundry and put it away. Perhaps you can’t get to the laundry just then, no matter, but every time you walk past that pile, you are going to think about folding it, and maybe even imagine folding that laundry in your head as you walk past.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a fairly organized person, consider how your partition out your clutter. Order is there.
Humans are naturally driven to order their chaos.
That is what I mean by “framework”–how humans order their chaos. And this idea is a great one, because it is highly scalable. From individuals, to corporations, to social groups, to governments, and any place that humans are, if you look closely, you can find a framework of beliefs and ideas that organize action and group culture. Even down to families and individuals, we all strive to order our chaos.
But the really incredible thing is, if we are not honest with ourselves in how we design this framework, like, for example, if we continue to strive for someone else’s definition of perfection for ourselves–our framework just might not work. It might work for a bit, and we might find success for a period of time, but eventually we will realize that fitting ourselves into the framework we “think” we need might really be like fitting a square into a circle.
It’s not going to happen!
We might not even realize why it’s not working, and instead blame ourselves for not fitting into what someone else has designed for their own strengths and weaknesses.
We might not realize at all because finding out what type of framework works for us takes courage.
It takes time.
It takes ripping back everything we think we know about ourselves and others, and looking at the bare facts.
Sometimes the bare facts aren’t very nice to look at.
But the only way to get out, is to go through.
Brutal honesty, that’s what it is going to take.
Brutal honesty with yourself, about yourself.
It’s easy to look at the framework someone else has built and focus on it’s strengths and weaknesses. In fact, it’s so easy that social media is founded on this very concept. We choose to “like” or not like things all the time, lending or withholding our support of someone else’s framework. We even willingly place ourselves in the arena of finagling support for our own framework as we post elements of our lives for other people’s perusal, hoping to accumulate likes in favor of our choices. It’s almost as if we use these interactions between someone who hardly even knows us to guide our choices and actions. After all, it is really easy to focus on what someone else is building in favor of sifting through the chaos of our own self.
With every like, we get a shot of adrenaline running through our system that encourages us to participate in the game again and again. If we don’t get a like, we look for other ways to ensure that next time we get that same rush of chemical energy. I find it so interesting that even down to our biological make-up, we are designed to create order out of chaos.
So, if we seek for the assurances of the masses to order our own chaos, are we really heading in the right direction?
Let’s wrap this all up by heading back to the beginning of my manifesto.
From the start, I have always been interested in how other people have ordered chaos over time. I could rhapsodize for hours over the magnificence of language, words, even letters. Numbers!! Oh, just the thought of how mere symbols can order so much chaos!
But I digress.
I have always known that how I ordered my own chaos would be a great determiner in the path that my life went down. However, somewhere a long the way, my path was hijacked by the thoughts and intents of other people.
Let me say here and now that I do not believe for a second that my father or my mother ruined my life. I will say that I just did not feel confident in ordering my own chaos. But all of that is an article for another time.
Due to lack of confidence and knowledge about the world and myself, I chose things that I may not have if I understood on a deeper level the importance of choosing the fight I wanted to engage in, and not the one someone else thought was easier for me to win.
That is not to say that I regret the life I have, or the choices that have led me to who and what I am now. I don’t think I would have had the same desire that burns inside of me to uncover truth and understanding if my life had gone down another path. Oh sure, there have been times where I have fallen into the trap of trying to shove my square peg into a round hole–years in fact–but for a while now I have made every effort to learn who “I” am and what I value. Coming to this point has been a painful and confusing journey that wasn’t exactly my choice. No one chooses uncertainty and hardship on purpose, because the outcome is just that–uncertain.
That’s why we are so driven to order our chaos.
This is what I want to do here, I want to pull back the covers on what we think we know about culture, and order and chaos, and reveal the bare facts. I want to provide anyone that stops here with a scalable model that will enable them to pull back the covers on their own self and reveal the bare facts beneath. From there, I hope to offer some methods and ideas that will enable you to move forward in life with an attainable model of goal setting and course completion. I want you to be able to find comfort and affirmation in who you are, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Most of all, I want you to understand that weakness and failure are stepping stones towards progress and strength. We aren’t meant to be perfect, and the only way to really, really learn something is to make mistakes and take different paths and start again and again until we finally understand what we are doing inside and out.
What a liberating truth!
Am I going to ask you for money, or to join some kind of club?
I just ask that you come back here every now and again and cut me some slack when our opinions about life sometimes don’t coincide. I am choosing to be bold and open by putting my thoughts and research out there, and I hope that you will receive it with candor in the spirit it is given.
Candor, a great word that means being open and honest, even frank.
If we can agree to do that with each other, we are going to make great strides becoming who we were meant to become, not who someone else thinks we should become.
On this journey, just about the only thing I can promise is that it will be difficult and confusing at first, but when we reach our new normal, ordering the chaos will be well worth it.