Caught Up in the Current
“The one who follows the crowd, will usually get no further than the crowd.
The one who walks alone, is likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.”
— Albert Einstein
It is not uncommon to be part of ‘the crowd’ from time-to-time during our lives. We are all members of groups and clubs, villages, shires, and cultures. From these crowds large and small, we draw cultural ingredients that mix into the identities that define us as people.
Many people become quite skilled at gathering and mixing the ingredients they source from the crowds they belong to into a distinctive, balanced individual personality. But for many, many others, the identity of the crowd is their de facto identity. Ready-made, they immerse in it and swim in its powerful currents carried along wherever it may lead.
The crowd is powerful. It is bigger than ourselves. It picks us up and moves us like surfers shooting the curl on a gnarly wave. The experience is an exploding high until the wave breaks pounding down upon us and jamming us hard into the ocean floor lined with lava rock and razor-sharp coral.
Cut and trampled under the boots of the crowd wave, we often feel detached and angry over the encounter, and with ourselves. We forget how powerful are the forces of nature and man ‘the crowd’.
What is the alternative to life with the crowd?
An alternative to the ‘fast-food’ crowd identities flooding the marketplace, is the idea that ‘life’, like all human endeavors can be learned, practiced, and mastered the same way anyone studies, and develops the skills to practice our trades, occupations, and professions, and become an authentic, genuine, one of kind original replacing the identity of the crowd, with the craftsman’s persona.
To practice ‘life-as-a-craft’, the way a craftsperson mindfully practices the trade of textile weaving, medicine, or carpentry, requires that the myriad activities of the ‘craft of life’ be systematically organized, managed, taught, and learned similar to the ways in which we learn and practice our trades, occupations, and professions.
This ‘old fashioned way’ of putting in the time to study, practice, and perform the work associated with our trades and professions with skill and quality, is alive and well to this day in cultures all over the world.
How is it then in the modern world, that when it comes to approaching the subject of ‘life’; the umbrella container for all the activities of our lifetimes, the ‘old fashioned way’ of doing the work with quality and skill is outshouted, and covered over by the tsunami of Pied Piper social media ‘influencers’, leading crowds out of the village, down the garden path, and over the edge into the abyss?
No mission is more important, no adventure more rewarding.
For each generation, no mission is more important, no adventure is more arduous or rewarding than the quest to take one’s place in the world, and over time, to turn an authentic, original vision of oneself into a tangible result. It requires commitment, skills, and learning to use the right tools for the job.
Does this ‘old fashioned’ approach to life-as-a-craft, take time, and incremental progress? Of course, it does. What finished work of high quality and skillful craftsmanship does not? What masterpiece of any kind was ever created on its own? Or by the untrained and unskilled craftsperson? None.
No guild of master craftspeople in any trade, occupation, or profession would ever accept a ‘crowd work’ as a masterpiece for meeting the standards for admittance to the guild as a master craftsperson. They would not even allow someone to submit such a work.
You Are The Craftsperson of Your Life
Your life is in your hands. Will you release control to chance encounters with fate, the crowd, and the forces of life to randomly shape it?
Or will you become the skilled craftsperson of your life, shaping it with deliberate care through the application of learned skills, improved over time, and make a masterpiece of your life?
You will not hear this melody flowing from the Pied Piper’s flute. It does not attract the following crowd. It is a quiet tune, listened for, learned over time, and performed with practice for a loyal follower of one.