What does it really mean to “know yourself”?
People generally ask these kinds of existential questions when they start thinking about their life.
Don’t worry when it visits you because it’s the most humane action you can do.
They say you have two different lives, the first one starts the day you are born and the second one starts the day you find out “why”.
The nitty-gritty part of being a human lie behind giving meaning to existence.
I often used to look around and think.
Bees were flying and visiting flowers to make honey.
How could they know it is their duty and how they were so persistent at doing it every single day?
Of course, this was applicable to all creatures. Fish knew where to swim, birds knew when to immigrate.
There was a perfect delicate balance in the universe. And there was only one species that could function improperly, the human race.
Humans were weird and I was one of them. They could start wars, inflict cruelty, perpetrate violence.
I struggled a lot to give a meaning of what is going on here.
I did not know what to do instinctively as other creatures do.
There was a good chance that I die without knowing the answer. (Thankfully, I did not)
The First Enlightenment
From the moment of birth, there was a crazy idea was pumping up my subconscious from my environment and family and that is “you are so special”.
You deserve the best of everything!
Eat the best chocolate, go to the best schools, sleep with the hottest chicks! You are a man, you came here to dominate!
You are here for power!
There was some truth in there but clearly this indoctrination was toxic. It did not take too much time that I found out I am not special at all.
A Real Madrid (Los Galacticos) Interview
In that era, Real Madrid was the best football team on the earth and they had the best footballers. Los Galacticos was their nickname as they consist of superstar football players.
Ronaldo, Beckham, Zidane, R.Carlos, Raul, Figo… they were a fascinating team. I encountered an interview with Roberto Carlos on TV.
The guy asked him something like “How can you guys play together like a team when you have too many superstars. Is there no any ego fight in the team?”
The response of R.Carlos was mind-blowing for me, he said “Superstar? Who is that? We were normal players who enjoy playing the game. Only other people labeled us as “superstars”, we don’t see ourselves as stars.”
Have you ever noticed the people you assumed who could possess the hugest ego, generally end up being the humblest guy you’ve ever met?
Your urge to feel special can make you invisible in this world!
And that is what they are pumping us with from the moment of birth. If you think you have to be special to achieve special things, you will never make it.
Can you imagine a cool, sage guy who was given a top model sports car when he was 16? The people we respect always “earned” it by overcoming hardships of life.
They had to rebel, fight, stay hungry, be alienated.
Nature always whispers in your hear the harsh truth: “Life is temporary, death is certain”.
Do you remember the scene where Rocky talked to the imagination of Mickey?
What did Mickey say?
Mickey: “And nature is smarter than people think. Little by little, we lose our friends, we lose everything. We keep losing and losing till we say, you know, “What the hell am I livin’ around here for? I got no reason to go on.” But with you, kid, boy, I got a reason to go on. And I’m gonna stay alive, and I will watch you make good.”
We are only part of a great circle of life. We are not special, there are billions of us. If one dies, a new one comes as a replacement.
Well, what the hell. Let’s jump out of the window and die then, we don’t matter boo-hoo.
Only a moron could interpret this concept in such a miserable way. Look at what Mickey did. He found out the inspiration that he can hold onto.
It is their family for some people, maybe it is their business for other people. The crux of the matter, we have the power to do something.
You might not reach the moon yet, but you can jump. You see people are suffering, dying from hunger? Maybe, we can help.
How can you help in the best manner? By knowing who you are. You have to do it for yourself, for your loved ones, for the universe…
If you discover where you can make the best contribution, you will be rewarded massively for it.
The best act a human can commit is to show others that despite everything the world still can be such a beautiful place.
You know it when
- You felt honest support and trust of a comrade.
- The sparkling positive energy of a kid touches your soul.
- A piece of great music connects with your inner being.
- You have the difficulty of getting over the effect of that movie.
There are moments where words cannot describe.
What you witness is the effect of a performing artist that everyone originally is gifted with. Unluckily, very very very few people can take this spirit out.
Most people die without even knowing its existence.
Why do most people fail? They beat up by resistance. The destructive force that we all have inside.
When you fail at accepting your artistic identity and betray your soul, the resistance becomes your master.
Those people become destructive and obey the commands of resistance. They harm themselves, they harm the universe and they never stop.
They have eyes, but they don’t see; they have ears, but they don’t hear. They have a soul, but they sold it.
Adolf Hitler wanted to be an artist
Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party in Germany in the years leading up to and during World War II, was also a painter. He produced hundreds of works and sold his paintings and postcards to try to earn a living during his Vienna years. (wiki)
He applied Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture in Vienna.
Have you ever seen one of his paintings? I haven’t. Do you know the reason? I do.
When his test drawings were judged as unsatisfactory, he was devastated. Failure struck him like a bolt of lightning and he gave up. He surrendered himself to resistance.
It was easier for him to become violent and start World War II.
No Strength, No Weakness
When you read self-help material on the subject of “Know Thyself”, you always end up getting the same advice: “Find out your strengths and weaknesses.”
There is no strength or weakness in you, you are an amalgamation.
We are not separated or fragmented. Each characteristic you possess is neutral, like emotions.
We are the channel distributors, labelers, and judges.
Let’s give some examples:
Shortness: You might not touch the ceiling or dunk, but you can excel at sports that require quickness and agility such as soccer.
Anger: You harm yourself if you punch the wall or hit your wife. However, anger is a huge source of power if you can channel it into your business or workouts.
Poverty: It is such a devastating state when you cannot even put food on the table. However, it teaches you great virtues as appreciating every single small detail. A person who tasted a real hunger for days would never outrage.
Emotionality: Women are more driven by emotion than men. That makes them more vulnerable to manipulation and it is harder for them to see a clear path. However, they are the masters of empathy and reading personalities. As they sense so successfully what you have been through, they can know what to do when a similar thing happened to themselves.
Water: Water is a source of life. 3/4 of our bodies were made of water. However, even if we drink water more than necessary, it becomes poisonous. You can stop a fire with it, but you can drown it, too.
There was a boy who was born without a right arm. On his ninth birthday, he asked his parents if he could join a karate club. They were delighted by the idea and the boy quickly became a regular at the local dojo.
The boy wanted to compete in a tournament and asked his master if this was possible. The master said he could but only if he listened carefully to his master and trusted him.
The master taught the boy one move and one move only. The boy practiced it diligently but after a while, he was worried that the other boys were learning a range of moves and he only had one.
He asked the master to teach him other moves but the master said no. The master just urged the boy to keep practicing that one move.
The boy won the first round of the tournament and then the next round and the one after that until he found himself winning the entire tournament.
The boy was baffled. How did he do it? He asked the master how a boy with only one arm and only one move could win a karate tournament against these other boys.
The master smiled and told the boy that there is only one defence against the move the boy learned and that defence involves grabbing the attacker by the right arm.
We just have forces which seems to direct us in certain ways
Now, think about the whole schooling system. Do you see clearly how bullshit that is?
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
A fish is specialized to swim superbly, and its ability to climb a tree is non-existent or rudimentary.
What would happen if Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to become a goalkeeper? Or Michael Jordan to a soccer player?
Maybe, they could still make a living from it, just maybe. But, you would never hear their name again. They could never achieve greatness.
Your enemies can only win if they make you believe that your strengths are your weaknesses.
When you were a kid who failed at math, you were criticized ruthlessly and demoralized by weakening your confidence levels. However, when you excel at anything not a single one actually praised your talent.
You are programmed to not care about yourself.
Nobody in the schooling system serves for an education. A school is a place where young brains are indoctrinated to become a slave for the government or system.
FIGURING OUT YOUR GREATNESS
The best piece of advice comes from Tony Hawk who is a legend from pro-skateboarding.
Tony Hawk is widely considered to be one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding.
He was able to buy a more luxury house than his parents’ when he was only 16 years of age from the money he earned from skating.
Tony: “We knew that no matter what we do we are gonna keep skating. Even if we all had to get adult jobs in our adult lives, we were gonna continue to skate no matter what.
It’s just all about being willing to take chances. A lot of people don’t want to take chances. They have sort of a safety net or safety zone and that is what they follow. But, I have never been afraid to fall down and get back up and try something else.
The best piece of advice I can give is: do what you love doing and everything else will fall in place. Because no matter how difficult the struggle is in accepting and doing it, you are going to enjoy doing it.
You ask anyone that has a job they hate. Despite getting up in the morning because that is what they are doing. If you followed what you love doing, you will enjoy doing it even if you are not making much money out of it, even if it is not a huge mainstream activity. You are going to have to enjoy what you are doing, otherwise, what do you have? Weekends? To do the things you enjoy? Make it your career.”
3 Ways To Understand If You Have “It”
As an experience of myself, I found out there are 3 indicators if it is your thing.
You forget time: You become a performer on the stage and the concept of time vanishes. You find yourself in love with the process of what you are doing.
No motivation: You don’t need external motivation to start doing that thing. If you are looking for motivation, cut it out. An artist performs out of the inner drive.
A happier state: There you have a huge smile on your face and peace of heart when you are done with your work. Even if you spent the whole day and you are physically exhausted, you feel happier. Like I will be when I am done with this article like my father is when he fixed the dishwasher last week.
The Gym Experience
When I was 20 years old in college, I started lifting weights.
Strangely, I was never impatient to see results in the mirror, unlike my fellows. For 3 months, I never checked my physique in the mirror.
All I care about was giving my all in the gym, getting proper rest, and eat healthy food. Rather than giving away my energy on the things that I have zero control over, I gave my best on the things that I could do.
This helped me to maintain my focus on the stuff that actually matters.
I loved the feeling of lifting weights, sweating in the gym, the endorphin release after the workouts. Most guys never focused on this part, they were so busy to check if their abs were visible or not on the mirror.
That is why they missed the most valuable gems they could get from the war room.
YOU MUST GO WITHIN
This is a stage where you cannot let any distraction which we have plenty of it at this age.
Actually, very few people really ask themselves what they really love. It is more comfortable to watch a video and hear a guy tells you a piece of life advice.
But, you gotta go within, you have to explore things in your thought process.
If you read until now, you care about my opinion.
Here it is:
Writing is relieving, inspirational, meditative.
What do you write? As long as you are honest with yourself, it does not matter.
Write a book for the future of you, write a journal, write a blog.
A different part of the brain is activated in the process of writing. The ideas you never could think of starts to form.
The idea is abstract in your brain, but you turn it into concrete when you write it.
The Last Phase
You know it anymore.
Stopping is like giving up being you. You cannot stop doing it.
There can be naysayers, criticisms but you are completely deaf. Bravos and clappings seem meaningless to you.
You do it for the love of doing it, not for the outside motivations.
Because they don’t owe anything to anyone. Nobody was there when they were giving their fight.
When they won battles, those people did not celebrate with him. They were considered as a danger like outcasts or rebels.
You will be like a bird flying, a bee making honey, a cheetah running after its hunt. What would these animals feel when others criticize or appreciate them?
They would keep doing it because that is all they know…
They have to keep being themselves, they have no other choice.
If you still have a choice, you are not there.
If you can hear what I say, you are not there, yet.
Maybe, you are not ready, yet.
Keep believing in yourself and keep pushing.
If it is something in you, you know it.
I could tell from your eyes…
As Apollo Creed said to Rocky, “As we fought, you had to eye of the tiger man, ‘the edge’.”
Good luck in your journey, young warrior.