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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The unexamined life is not worth living

"The unexamined life is not worth living"
Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC)

I spend a lot of time reflecting upon myself and how I do things in the world. It has always helped me clear my mind by setting goals and priorities for me to achieve. By looking back upon what I did or didn't do I can find things that help me improve my overall life. For example, if I did something well and got praise from it, I would go through in my mind the event once again and visualize everything that I did well and learn from the experience, vice versa, I would also look at the things that I didn't do so well and try to remember to work on it. This kind of mental exercise has helped me to continue to grow and refine myself as I get older.

I think people on a whole nowadays do not properly have time to reflect on what they have done and how they are doing things. I see people doing things for the sake of doing them and not really knowing why. Such is the case with people working at jobs that they don't like or being pressured by friends and families to do things that to them doesn't make sense. People are very reactive to their environments and others, not many are sure of themselves and their path in life. I believe that if people took a step back and really analyzed why they do certain things in life, they would make changes and better their own lives.

I contribute a lot of my personal success in life on my ability to tune others out. By ignoring certain people and their beliefs about me, I was able to grow beyond what others saw in me. I looked inward to myself and what I had accomplished and used that information to determine who I am. People have a really nasty habit of taking one look at a person and judging them at first glance. It is as if people are writing a personal narrative of who you are as a person in their own head and the rest of the time they are trying to make you fit their story.

For example, my parents has always believe that I was this shy introverted person who loved computer games and had very little outside interests.  I achieved very average grades, so they thought that I was going to average and make somewhat of a decent living. They thought that I couldn't get a high paying job without excellent grades and a Ivy league education. Every chance that they got they tried to reaffirm their beliefs in who they thought I was. They were always telling me that I didn't like books and that I should read more, despite the fact that I did all my reading away from my parents in silence. The point is they were more than surprise with how I ended up and where I am going in my life, but it wasn't possible had I just believed what they thought I was.

I had to examining my life and understand who I was and who I wanted to be, myself. There was no consensuses on what my life should be or who am I based on my past. I determine who I am and what I do with my life, not others. It is empowering to be in control of your own destiny, regardless of what others say. Let's all try and ignore the naysayers in our lives and people who try and fit you into their story of who you are. Write your own story.

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