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 why you must live dangerously!
If you aren’t subscribed, you can click the following button and join for free.
“For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!”― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
We have goals. We have ideals. We have dreams. We have visions of a future that only we can make into a reality. These are legitimate. They excite us. They fill our bodies with energy from untapped reserves that we didn’t know we had. We have no choice but to push forward.
Yet when we pursue these dreams, we are not met with praise or support. On the contrary, we are met with criticism, doubt, fear, and confusion.
This is followed by advice that is usually a combination of the following:
Don’t rock the boat.
Play it safe.
Don’t quit your day job.
This isn’t for you.
Focus on what you are good at.
And sadly, most people give in and listen. They live a safe life and a sterile existence. They dull the inner voice, silencing the best part about themselves.
You cannot allow this to happen.
You must press ahead.
You must live dangerously!
You cannot let the opinions of the masses determine your true work, you true path, and the life that you desire. That is up to you and you alone. Take constructive criticism, listen to the suggestions from the people that you deem are esteemed, but stick to your guns. Be loyal to what drives you.
Because most people are driven by the superficial. A new title here. Some material goods there. A certification of merit or a meaningless award.
But not you.
You are driven by a deeper sense of creativity and vision than the masses could ever comprehend. You are driven by a path that only you can see. You must heed the words of Arthur Schopenhauer when he wrote the following of Don Quixote, one of the greatest works in human history:
“Don Quixote… is an allegory of the life of every man who, unlike others… pursues an objective, ideal end that has taken possession of his thinking and willing; and then, of course, he stands out as an oddity in this world.”
Being an oddity may not be popular on social media. It may not be popular among your peers. But it is the oddity who follows their own path and changes the world. It is the oddity who follows their inner compass, one that points to true north. It is the oddity that starts a company, innovates, writes, paints, conducts research, teaches themselves a skill, and avoids the diversions of a society that is attempting to distract each and every minute of the day.
So be that oddity!
“If you are ever tempted to look for outside approval, realize that you have compromised your own integrity. If you need a witness, be your own.”-Epictetus
CHOOSE GROWTH, NOT SAFETY.
“Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.”-Abraham Maslow
Safety is simple and growth is difficult. This is precisely why the multitude choose to play it safe. Safety is clean and sterile. Safety requires very little thought or action. It provides a space where you can exist in an ignorant but comfortable state of bliss.
But growth? Growth is rough and dirty. Growth requires you to leave your comfort zone. Growth opens yourself up to new people and experiences, new thoughts and information. Growth challenges the status quo.
In essence, the act of choosing to grow is an act of living dangerously.
And it is just as difficult and rewarding as it sounds.
Because it opens you up to criticism from your peers, your community, and even society itself.
And it hurts.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts.”-Joseph Campbell
It cuts like a knife that no surgeon can heal. It stings in a place that no medicine can soothe.
But if you are to live dangerously, then you must possess a growth mindset. One that sets you on the path of your choosing and leaves the crowd behind, despite what they may say or think.
Growth is not an overnight process. There are no supporting analytics. No CRM software to track your progress. It is the result of the abundance of choices that one makes over time. Proper choices toward growth changes an individual and over a period, these changes become clearly evident.
One only needs the patience and grit to see these changes come to fruition.
“Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard.”― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
The individual cannot become who they were meant to be unless they are fully committed to growing into the greatest person that they can be.
This means making the hard choices.
This means leaving the confines of safety.
This means a certain amount of suffering.
And most importantly, this means to be independent of the thoughts of the multitude.
Because one must walk their own path to growth, a path that they create each and every day. Realize that if the masses were committed to walking their own path, they would not have time to waste critiquing others. But because they lack this path, they have ample free time. And instead of using this free time to grow and improve, they use it to criticize and destroy. It is a vicious cycle. You must not fall prey to this trap.
Realize that you have potential for anything that you set your heart on. No matter the difficulty and challenges that may lie in your path, it is always worth it to face such obstacles.
This is the growth mindset!
It is worth the setbacks, the struggles, and the creeping doubt that will manifest as you continue to press forward. It is all part of the process. Thus, you cannot shrink from this process, or flee from your task at hand. If you do, you will smother one of the best parts of you. You will be giving up a priceless treasure, keeping the cache of loot deep within instead of raising it up and sharing it with the world. There is a price to this, a cost which is detrimental to your mindset. Do not make this mistake. Trust the process of growth and live up to your possibilities.
“If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.”-William James
KEEP MOVING FORWARD
“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”-Alfred Adler
What happens to your legs if you stop walking? What happens to your body if you stop exercising? To your mind if you stop reading? We become weaker, softer, and a corpulent out of shape blob. Why do we think any differently when our potentialities aren’t fulfilled? When we don’t feed our mind with nurturing knowledge and heroic thoughts? It is ironic that we would become truly fearful if we lost our ability to walk but when it comes to losing the infinite possibilities that we are capable of, we are content to let them go without a struggle. How foolish!
Why does this happen? Because growing into the individual that allows the fulfillment of our potentialities means challenges and difficulties. It means you are on the path and undertaking a quest. It is a pilgrimage of unknown length, without a confirmed terminus that could prove terminal. Many cannot stand to exist in this manner, so they don’t set out to grow. Rather, they remain still, enveloped in a blanket of safety and caution.
Movement is needed. Both physical and mental. One must keep pressing forward, no matter the difficulties they may face. It is only when you are on the journey that you become a different person. You leave mediocrity and safety behind and achieve a level of personal greatness. You live dangerously and begin to take greater chances. You find yourself in places that you never thought possible when you first began.
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”-Martin Buber
But this only comes from growth and movement.
Know that so long as you play it safe, avoiding your potentialities, nothing will change. The individuals who stayed hidden and avoided risk are not what history remembers. History remembers the risk takers. Society celebrates the people that dared, because the ability to dare in itself is a difficult task.
Leave safety and stillness for the masses. Let them remain sick souls who dull their potentialities. You are different. You know what you must do, so all that remains is to do it!
“When a man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled.”-Bruce Lee
FOLLOW YOUR INTERNAL COMPASS
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”-Carl Gustav Jung
We all have an internal compass, one that points to our true self. It is up to each and every one of us to follow it and more importantly, match our heartbeat with it.
Because when we endeavor to follow this internal compass, to attempt the impossible, to always grow and move toward our goals, and to live dangerously, a major ancillary benefit is provided to society.
It inspires others.
You may not realize this until much later, but you have supporters and fans. I do not mean followers on your social media who have never once reached out to you, but true supporters and fans. They may not tell you directly that they support you. They may not like or comment or share on social media. But they watch you, not with envy, but with praise. Your capacity to walk your own path and live dangerously is a powerful capability. So many people lack that ability that when they see someone who is doing it, they can’t help but stop and observe with awe and wonder.
“Every man's foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never-recurring potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, and be it even the greatest, has already achieved.”-Martin Buber
This inspiration alone is worthy of a legacy. The pandemic has left the world confused, angry and fatigued. We need people like you now more than ever. People that walk their own path, people that are focused on the future. People that live dangerously!
It is up to you. Stay on the path and you will find your life changed by the convictions of your actions and the work that you create. The world needs you, your work, and your inspiration. The world needs your dreams. We are counting on you to make them a reality.
“What you leave behind is not, what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”-Pericles
ONE LAST THING
If you are enjoying this newsletter, please share it with a friend that needs to see it. Not only could it help them, but they will get an exclusive preview of what is to come.
I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.