Year Four (2017–2018): Lessons of Self-Reflection
I have spent much of this last year trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I would love to say that I have figured it out, but I’m not much closer than I was a year ago.
With that said I have made a lot of progress this year — not so much in terms of career or life purpose — but more so in the realm of inner growth and having an understanding of how the world works.
I want to use this yearly blog post to briefly cover some of the main nuggets of wisdom which I have come to understand in the past twelve months.
1. Authenticity is key to happiness
I think this could be the single most important concept for people to understand and implement into their lives. To become aligned with your true self to the point where you can live from this place on a day-to-day basis is the key to fully enjoying life.
Inauthenticity comes in many forms, all of them are poison to the soul. Our culture feeds off inauthenticity which is what makes it so difficult to discover your true self and align with it consistently. The first step is to realise what is really meant by ‘your true self’ — this goes much deeper than it first appears. The second step is to let yourself be rather than relying on the smoke and mirrors which you have been hiding amongst your entire life.
The happiest people on earth are the most authentic.
2. Work on freeing yourself from addictions
Addiction is a far greater problem than most people realise. I’m not talking about obvious addictions like drugs and alcohol, but the more subtle addictions which infest culture and are widely viewed as acceptable.
I view an addiction as anything you use as a crutch to escape reality, to escape the truth.
In the past six months, I have come to see clearly how these subtle addictions control my life. If you want to become a happy and well-functioning human being you should identify and work on overcoming any subtle addictions you have. Until you do this you are a prisoner of your own mind. Overcoming all addictions will take a lot of work, but once you have done it you will have won your freedom and will have developed an inner strength which almost nobody else can match.
3. I have many flaws
I have also come face to face with many of my own flaws as a person. It’s quite humbling to face your own flaws rather than to run away from them. It’s only once you accept them that you can begin to work on changing them.
I used to think quite highly of myself, but I don’t so much anymore. I am starting to see the evil in myself in the same way I would see evil in the external world. This may sound like a negative thing but it’s not at all. As I mentioned in #1, authenticity is the key to happiness, but this requires embracing the bad as well as the good.
4. Personal success is not as important as I thought
Most of my life I have been driven by the idea of being successful, especially when it comes to career aspirations. Over the last year I have become less and less attached the importance of achievement and success.
I’m not saying that I am going to give up trying to do anything of practical value with my life, but I am saying that the cultural ideas of personal success can be very misguided and unhealthy.
I think a balance is often required when it comes to doing and being. Of course action is needed to improve yourself and your life situation, but at the same time becoming neurotically attached to this idea can cause many problems and unhappiness in life.
It’s important not to take personal success too far. It’s easy to become caught up in a whirlwind of greed. Pursuing material success at the cost of everything else is harmful.
5. I know nothing
As human beings our perception of the world is shaped by forces which are almost entirely out of our control. We have the illusion of free thought and we take for granted that the knowledge we possess is accurate. If we take a closer look at how our seemingly concrete understanding of the world has come to be , we will see that it has been constructed by our environment.
We are not isolated individuals who go about our own separate lives and make our own choices. Each of us are just tiny fragments of the whole. We are products of this whole, and yet we know almost nothing about what this whole actually is and how it works.
Over the next year I want to continue to go deeper with my self-investigations and work on many on the points listed above. My main goal right now is to become a stronger, more well rounded person by developing myself in various areas of life.
21st September 2018
Originally published at Ben Worrall.