“She wasn’t sure what came next now that she was born.
But she’d already gone from oblivion to existing.
How much harder could the rest be?”
The older I get the more I stop and think about how crazy life is. We come into this world clueless and helpless. We can breathe, sleep, make wailing noises, and pump blood through our systems…but that’s about it.
We’re entirely dependent upon the people who raise us for how we turn out. The dream is to be raised by a loving family who cares about our future. I was incredibly lucky in that regard, but not everyone else is.
And even still, once we turn 18, or “become an adult”, or whatever age we’re launched out into the world — completely on our own — the best that we can hope for is to have enough tools to figure the rest out.
Because really, at that point, that’s exactly what the rest of life is — figuring it all out.
Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. But for sure, some are better than others at it.
I believe that those who “succeed” (or those who don’t completely suck, however you want to put it) have some level of these qualities about them. And if not, they develop them sooner rather than later:
The moment we stop learning is the moment we might as well die. It’s the basic skill that keeps us alive and able to survive the next encounter. Having curiosity means being proactive and having the desire to learn as much as possible.
If we don’t even know we’re living, then what’s the point in living at all? Those without self-awareness tend to just drift through life without purpose or direction. They get dragged wherever the wind takes them.
Not necessarily a bad thing (ignorance can be bliss, after all), however having self-awareness is far superior. If we develop self-awareness, we realize we’re still at the mercy of the wind, but at least we’re able to steer our ship in the right direction.
Self-awareness is being able to look at ourselves and say, “Man, we fucked that one up.” And then adjust our sails and correct course for the future.
Every interaction is a test. Like a rep in the gym. Should we choose to grow from them, we can get stronger. Life sure as hell isn’t going to get any easier — it just gets more complicated with every passing day — so that means we need to get tougher in order to deal with it.
Those who possess or learn to possess this trait are able to stand up after they stumble. They take the hit and keep going. And then the next hit comes and it’s a little harder. But the last hit helped prepare them for it. Repeat until the end of days.
The hits either knock us out or make us want to keep fighting stronger.
This one changes the game a bit. Those of us who can think outside of the box and be creative in how we move through life are able to do some amazing things.
What exactly those amazing things are can’t really be defined. There are far too many variations to even begin. Some of us just figure out how to use creativity to our advantage. To bend the rules. To solve problems in ways others never dreamed of.
When all else fails and our other traits don’t seem to be working, creativity is what takes us through the mountain, rather than around it like everyone else.
I forget where I heard it, but someone once said that:
“Life can be enjoyed if you can just live it long enough to figure it out.”
What do you think?
Hat tip to the A Small Fiction Twitter account for the quote at the beginning. I thought it was awesome.