There is a lot in the world that sucks. Quite often this stuff can get us down. Maybe your leg just broke, your grades could be bad or perhaps you’re sad about Iran enriching uranium. In both cases, it is understandable to wonder why these things happen. Why did you jump off that roof? Why aren’t you good at school? Why do nuclear weapons exist at all?
I have done my fair share of questioning things. Most of my close friends can attest that when the cause of every conceivable grievance is questioned, I trace the cause back to the agricultural revolution and blame the advancement of civilization. Yeah, it’s true.
I have a set of fairly anachronistic skills. In the past, I would have been a fairly successful hunter-gatherer, foot messenger or philosopher. However, hunting and gathering have been replaced by the food industry, motor vehicles and airplanes have been invented and my “original” thoughts have already been thought by others. This realization has been the cause of much depressive sulking.
The recent Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris” has its main character, Gil, facing a similar situation. He believes that the golden age was Paris in the 1920s and lives a nostalgic life which, as Gil’s foe points out, “[is] denial of the painful present […] it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.” As harsh as this is, it’s true.
Over Winter Break I had a revelation similar that Gil has at the end of the film: You can romanticize the past and wallow in the unfortunate timing of our life infinitely. That will only hold you back and prevent you from living a fulfilling life.
Looking for a solution? It’s as simple as looking at the present and focusing your energy on doing what you can right now. Sure, accidents do happen and there are times when we are blameless for the bad things that happen. Dwelling on these as “acts of fate” only ensures your stagnancy in a demoralized state. Bob Dylan’s timeless lyrics have it right, “It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe. It don’t matter anyhow […] Don’t think twice, it’s alright.”
For the sake of strengthening my argument, let’s say we DO live in the days of the prehistoric hunter-gatherer. Those who sat around, feeling bad about things, died. People would kill them because they appeared to be weak, easy prey, or they would starve from waiting for their food to come to them instead of going hunting for it.
Empower yourself! Take responsibility for your own life instead of leaving it in the hands of your environment. If you sit around and wait for opportunity to come around, chances are you’ll never reach your full potential; make opportunities.
“But things in the world are so incredibly wrong,” you might say. “Why do we have to live amidst so much wrong?” You’re right, a lot of things are disgustingly horrible in the world. Chances are no one is going to want to revert back to a life of hunting and gathering so not everything can be immediately solved. But, there are small things that can be done every day to change the world inch by inch.
Tucker Max, renowned for his reproachable jackassery and sexual exploits, may not be the best role model for humanity. However, his approach to life is something most of us can learn from. He takes life by the horns and lives the life he wants to live, he is the person he wants to be and finds a way to come out on top of nearly every situation, no matter how doomed it seems.
I’ve entered this semester with a revitalized outlook on life. No longer will I allow myself to be too severely weakened and defeated by happenings. I’m going to be proactive and reinstate myself into a state of winningness. I will win at every opportunity, even in the face of adversity. Maybe you can’t completely change the world but, at the very least, you can change your life.