Your heroes reflect your values. Tell me who you look up to and that’s the star you’re shooting for. The issue is that even when we have heroes and role models that set examples, we unfortunately fall short of our expectations. In worst cases, we don’t even try because of some form of fear. As a result, we go through life with resentment, bitterness, unfulfilled. This is a life of suffering that no one wants.
What Suffering Will You Choose? (Jordan Peterson)
The buddha said that life is suffering. What about working tireless with the goal of helping others? You could argue that this is suffering too. Others take the hedonistic view, where life is all about maximizing the amount of pleasure possible. This is a short term solution but I don’t think it really works in the long run. Let’s imagine you take the hedonistic route: constantly eating out, trying new foods. You travel to different places around the world for new experiences. You post on instagram for the pleasure of acceptance and superiority. You try a bunch of drugs, or are in a state of high because it helps with your “anxiety” or you “sleep better.” You go around sleeping with strangers because you get bored of every girl or guy you meet then you tell yourself your destiend to be single. The problem with hedonism is there’s so many avenues of pleasures you can not only alter the dose but swap the drug. It’s like a neverending buffet. The suffering is just put off forever until it’s too late.
So you can make the argument that regardless of what you do, life is in some form suffering. But which suffering would you want to choose? The suffering of never attaining your highest good or the suffering of others making fun of you for trying? I’d choose the latter every time.
Re-define Success and Allow Action to Flow Naturally
Even though from a rational stand point the latter makes sense, I still hesitate to take action. Why is this? I think it’s because we are creatures of habit. Our actions are habitual in a way to help us avoid danger and maximize pleasure. I see this everywhere. Staying in your warm covers instead of going to the gym. Eating fast food instead of going home and cooking a healthy meal and doing the dishes. Going out to binge drink instead of staying in and working on yourself. Putting off that thing you know you should be doing. Then you falsely attribute your shortcomings to the government, your ethnicity, or how your parents abused you when you were a kid.
Life is suffering and unfair. It’s the truth. There’s too much evidence to deny that. However, there is equally or more hope and happiness to counteract this. So how do we overcome this habit of comfort? The first step is realizing and acknowledging it exists in you. The second step is to make a choice to choose your suffering/discomfort. But not just one choice. You must make multiple choices, again and again and again. You must consistently choose the higher road and eventually you might reach similar levels of your heroes.
How do you define your success? Is it by the amount of likes you get, or views? Is it the adoration and compliments of other? Is it the approval of your parents? These are all external sources of success. If you leave your life in the external, you ultimately have no control over your emotions. But what if you defined your success what your own actions and what you do for humanity. What if your definition of success is the internal, everpresent watcher of your actions? What would they say about you? This is the one person in the world you cannot lie to.
Listen To Yourself
I’d listen to no one except your inner voice. Yes, take advice from other people who know more than you and who can teach you something you’re unfamiliar with. But what defines you, what defines your core, your happiness, and content, will only be yourself. This destroys the fear of failure. If you let yourself be the judge of your actions, then not trying is worst than failing. If you never try, you’d be failing inside all the time. If you let others judge your emotions and actions, you’re “succeeding” because avoiding failure causes others to see you in a positive light. If you have an internal scorecard, then not trying is failing. Can you see now how your definition of success can affect your entire life?
So stop playing for others and play for yourself. Make your definiton of success your own and follow it relentlessly. Strive to aim at the highest good you can conceive of yourself and become like your idols. You may not invent a vaccine that saves millions of lives or start a space company, but you’ll do the best with what nature gave you. But may someday, you might see your heroes and your peers or surpass them in terms of your definition of success. Who knows. Only you can find out.