I was born stubborn. My parents called me “Mr Director” when I was a newborn. And they didn’t try too hard to break me in later either.
I could always be the first one walking the stairs. I didn’t have to sit on the bicycle on the bike seat but could run in the front, slowing the whole family down. I ate 3/4th of the chocolate cookies. I got bored easily and needed constant attention. And so on.
This ultra liberal upbringing is probably part of why I believe people should be given freedom to choose the life they wish (unless they harm others with it).
& the essential part of finding one’s way is to deconstruct what you’ve been told and taught. As Tim Urban from WBW put it: “[…] It takes some serious reflection to sift through the webs of other people’s thoughts and opinions and figure out who the real you actually is.”
One of the good (and easier) ways to find out about yourself is getting to know different life choices: from talking to the homeless guy at your corner through travelling the world to watching existentialist movies and talking to your friends who are in different life stages than you are.
One of my memorable triggers was reading books at a young age. First and Second World War classics that taught me all about meaningless deaths, murders, Holocaust and similar. And yet, the one situation I could not imagine or understand was a paragraph about Berbers who willingly sleep in their clothes. It was like a huge slap on the face. I knew already “You can not go to sleep without washing your teeth and wearing your pajamas”.
This was when I was around 12. During the next years I’d consciously fight the ideas given to me on clean plates. I’d often sleep in my clothes. Away from home. In a tent. Under the stars. On parties. And plenty of other things I was told people couldn’t/shouldn’t do.
Without deconstructing your upbringing and distancing yourself consciously from external opinions you’ll always remain a child: someone led by parents, strangers, motivating and manipulating figures. This deconstruction is what leads you to become yourself.
A couple ideas on how to free yourself from external expectations:
1, Motion: get ideas, learn new ways (if you don’t have an idea yet but you want to change)
– read books (a good list here)
– watch movies (my reccos here)
– meet new people
– start new topics with the same old friends
– strengthen your subconscious (go running or to the gym, eat less, spend less money)
2, Action: try something new today, overcome your fear, choose different paths
– take up a commitment if you lack meaning
– give up a commitment if you lack freedom
– freaking start what you want! Let it be walking up to that girl, starting that company, taking a day off, quitting your job – or whatever it might be. But rather than taking a second mortgage to invest in Bitcoin, please, start small. Chances are you’re already living the life you want – all you need is perspective to come to terms with it…