Welcome to the YouTopian Journey. Each week I will be sharing unique wisdom as well as a more in-depth overview of the artwork that is featured on the Instagram @youtopianjourney. This week we discuss the importance of finding your nexus point!
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THE POINT OF ORIGIN
“Originality is the universal language of the soul. But we human midgets, with our near-sighted view of things, worship the conventionalized person whose instincts are dead, inspirations unborn, and emotions locked in a heart.”-Edward Earle Purinton, The Triumph Of The Man Who Acts
We all have it.
The moment of origin.
A fixed position in the story of your life where the branches lead you to destinations that you never thought possible.
A watershed moment.
The inciting incident.
The nexus point.
There is some time, some event, some moment in life where a decision must be made. Action must be taken. The nexus point becomes evident when we are looking back and we can trace the path of our lives. And if you have not found this yet, then it is still to come.
But the majority?
The majority have ignored this nexus point. They have dulled the call. They have ignored the inner yearning and replaced it with shopping, social media, conformity, and submission. They have accepted the status quo and their role in the world, a role that was placed upon them by others.
“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”-Charles Bukowski
Why is this the case? Why ignore the nexus point if it is so paramount to our existence?
Because the nexus point is terrifying!
It requires a leap of faith. It requires trusting yourself with your life. It requires tossing the dice and taking a chance. It requires an investment into yourself that will pay you back with meager returns until it rewards you with something priceless.
This could be moving to a new country that you are unfamiliar with for an opportunity.
This could mean going to a distant university when you have never left the safety and comfort of your hometown.
This could mean starting a company with no experience.
This could mean learning a skill that offers no guarantee of a high paying job.
This could mean taking a chance on a new relationship.
Above all, this could mean loss. The loss of safety. The loss of conformity. The loss of familiar people and places. The loss of your self. And most importantly, the loss of the fallacies that you built up within your own mind. Faced with new situations and the unfamiliar, the autonomy and personal pride that one possesses shirks in the face of new challenges. This is too much for many to bear.
“Anytime you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna lose something. You’re losing what you’re hanging onto to keep safe. You’re losing habits that you’re comfortable with, you’re losing familiarity.”-James Hillman
People are creatures of certainty. We want the familiar. We cannot exist provisionally. We must have a set goal with a set date and set rewards. But life doesn’t operate like that. Life operates under its own set of rules. The pandemic illustrated this. People couldn’t handle the uncertainty. They couldn’t handle the loss of the happy hours and summer trips. They couldn’t sacrifice the trivial to avoid a tragedy.
This is why so many seek the safety of the clan and hope for the triumph of their tribe. Whether it is an online group, political party, or even the safety of the office, all offer the same solution, the replacement of meaning. There, the meaning that they cannot personally find can be replaced by corporate dogma, hashtags, slogans, titles, and a hierarchy that they can follow, all within a safe space that they can call their own.
The nexus point is the opposite as it requires you to act without any set rules. There is no clan or tribe to cling to. You are given full freedom and autonomy, with only hope and your imagination. There is no safety net, just the abyss of endless possibilities that you must cross.
There is also the realization that the nexus point promises nothing and keeps its promise.
So why engage with it?
Because this risk-taking behavior is required for potentialities to be transformed into possibilities. This will set you on a path that few will ever understand, not even you at first.
And you will face opposition from the multitude, who cannot stand deviation from the status quo.
Questions will abound.
Aren’t you too old?
Aren’t you too young?
What experience do you have?
What are you doing?
Why are you doing this?
Why don’t you get a real job?
These questions are enough to deter the majority.
Do not let them deter you!
Do not let them stop you from attempting to walk the various paths that will result from the nexus point.
I know it will be frightening. I know it will be confusing. But when you arrive at the destination of your choosing, it will all make sense.
All that is required is you. Focus on what you must do and do it!
“Man is as much a slave to his immediate surroundings now as he was when he lived in tree-huts. Give him the highest, the most exciting thoughts about man’s place in the universe, the meaning of history; they can all be snuffed out in a moment if he wants his dinner, or feels irritated by a child squalling on a bus. He is bound by pettiness.”-Colin Wilson
A NEXUS POINT MEANS RESPONSIBILITY
“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Following the nexus point means you must possess a certain level of responsibility. You are no longer responsible to others or your boss or your teachers, but to yourself.
This could mean missing social events.
This could mean abstaining from parties and alcohol.
This could mean finding yourself alone on a Saturday night while the rest of your peers are out.
This could mean being thought of as an outsider (or a weirdo, or a workaholic, or whatever term comes to mind).
Understand that you are embarking on a path that you must be both leader and follower. You must be both student and teacher. This is more difficult than it sounds. As the nexus point is unique to each individual and every journey is different, it comes down to you.
You must make the hard choices.
You must accept any and all consequences.
You must face setback after setback.
You must contend with a world that will never support you (until you have found success, which then you will have supporters come out from the shadows).
You must maintain your course in the face of a society that seeks to stamp your originality and your ideas into oblivion.
And you must do this each and every day. This experience is stifling and painful. But is necessary for life.
Let me repeat that, it is necessary for life!
“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.”-Alexis Carrel
You must endeavor to live the life that the nexus point provides, holding yourself to a standard that is higher than you have ever experienced. You must study harder, work harder, and fail harder. You must follow the winding canyons deep into the dark abyss, only so that you can come out on the other side as a changed person.
This responsibility is not for the multitude. It is only for those who are willing to sacrifice, to put in the required work, and to question.
Not question science or fact, but to question themselves. Because the individual who looks at their ceiling wondering what this is all about is much further along their true path than the drone who never questions a single thing about their life or future.
These questions are vital. They are part of the process. They test your mettle. They allow you to reach new conclusions and open up new opportunities where many only see obstacles.
The answers you seek will not come ready made and from the screen, but only from within. You must constantly be questioning, thinking, and then acting upon these thoughts. You must always be striving and growing, never giving into the conformity and submission that the status quo demands.
You are better than that.
Now prove it to the world!
“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.”-Henry Ward Beecher
WHERE IS THE NEXUS POINT?
“In each one of you there is a hidden being, still in the deep sleep of childhood. Bring it to life! In each one of you there is a call, a will, an impulse of nature, an impulse toward the future, the higher. Let it mature, let it resound, nurture it!”-Hermann Hesse
The nexus point cannot be summoned. It is not an APP that is easily downloadable. Instead, it comes about when a choice must be made. It appears when one stops blaming their problems on their parents, their peers, their teachers, or their government. It manifests when one understands that their destiny is their own.
This moment of defiance and the acceptance of one’s own future is when the nexus point makes itself known. When the individual discovers that they have power, real power. When the difference between having no power and being powerless is distinguished. When one defies the odds and begins to rely on their own resourcefulness rather than resources.
“O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life,
but exhaust the limits of the possible.”-Pindar
This is difficult. We have all been weaned on the same tales. We need patrons, investors, scholarships, the stars to align, circumstances to be right, champions of our cause, countless supporters and so on.
Many give up before they begin.
This must stop.
So many ideas have been exterminated by the doubts and fears of others. So many dreams postponed into the abyss because many thought they weren’t ready. So many branching paths never walked because one lacked the courage to act on the nexus point.
Understand that the nexus point is not some grand idea. It is often simple. A decision to make a left instead of a right that leads to a new life. A choice to watch a film or attend a play that stirs something inside of you. An encounter with a person who makes you question your current path.
Small beginnings to big things. Choices that may seem trivial at first, but when looked upon from a later date, can be seen as world altering decisions that set you on a course that you didn’t know existed.
It is hard to make choices, even small choices, when you aren’t paying attention. You cannot have a nexus point when you are too focused on pleasing others, because the nexus point is about pleasing yourself, despite how difficult and how odd it may make you appear to others.
You must dive in. Explore. Open yourself up to new people, experiences, writers, and creators. See where it takes you. You may just find your nexus point and an entire new journey which will change your life for the better.
“The new being is born in us, just when we least believe in it. It appears in remote corners of our souls which we have neglected for a long time. It opens up deep levels of our personality which had been shut out by old decisions and old exclusions. It shows a way where there was no way before. It liberates us from the tragedy of having to decide and having to exclude, because it is given before any decision. Suddenly we notice it within us! The new which we sought and longed for comes to us in the moment in which we lose hope of ever finding it.” -Paul Tillich
A PERSONAL NOTE
“Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers, and warriors.”-Hunter S. Thompson
There are many points in my life where I had to make a decision that, while uncomfortable at the time, has resulted in boons beyond imagining. I believe that the most important nexus point for me was in 2003. I can trace all of my entrepreneurial and creative endeavors in the present day to a few key decisions in that year.
It is difficult to connect the dots looking forward but easy when looking back. I know for a fact that there would be no YouTopian Journey, or screenplays, or books, or speeches, or successes without the choices and the resulting difficulties from that year. I had no idea at the time that these simple choices would lead me to things I never even considered.
Look back on your own life, chart your own nexus point, and if you don’t have one, be ready for the opportunity in the future when it strikes. Because it will strike. It is there for you, waiting. It is up to you to find this point and chart your course. Embrace the difficulties, the pain, and the setbacks. Celebrate the successes, no matter how minor. This will all result in accomplishments that you never conceived of, let alone thought were possible.
Society is counting on you.
I am counting on you.
“Real generosity of the future lives in giving all to the present.”- Albert Camus
CRAMP YOUR CRANIUM
I truly believe that the best advantage one can have in this world is to be armed with knowledge. I recently came across The In-Between Newsletter. It breaks down topics that were poorly taught in school (if they were taught at all). Ranging from career, life, and financial topics, this newsletter is here to help you succeed. You can check it out here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
I had a great pilot episode of Founder Fortitude this past week. We discussed a lot of the concepts outlined in YouTopian Journey, specifically the value of perseverance in the face of overwhelming difficulty and suffering. It is now on Youtube and you can watch it by clicking here.
CAN I ASK A FAVOR?
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I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.