Mistakes. Errors. Wrong turns. Wrong answers. Wrong direction. These are a quick few ways to generalize some of our biggest fears. These generalizations might’ve even spurred a sense of anxiety upon your reading of them. These statements are a generalization of the most pertinent thoughts floating through my head as of the past few days.
Although fear is obviously a useful tool, I believe that it is one that the mind tries to use all too often. Our primitive minds often tell us not to stray off the well-worn paths. These very paths have been traveled on because they are safe. Don’t we all want to be safe? Doesn’t it make sense to take the safest route? Why would you want to explore somewhere unknown, where danger may be lurking awaiting for the perfect prey to devour, you?
Yes, this metaphor seems a little outdated. However, it can be applied still to each of our lives. I believe it explains why we all follow popular items such as the news, various famous brands, well-known movie stars, and different social media icons. We all feel this very primal instinct to do what the mass populous is doing because that is what we need to do to be safe. If we don’t follow the tribe, we will be left in the wilderness without food, shelter, and safety. If we don’t follow what social and cultural leaders tell us, then we fear we will be left out in a world filled with loneliness.
That same fear, however, is no longer valid. We now live in a society of excess. Agriculture, industrialization, globalization, and other aspects of modernism have helped us become so efficient, that we can live beyond this fear. We can stray from the well-worn path that the majority follow. We can attempt the unknown, or at least what we believe is the unknown, and we should!
It is the very act of taking different actions, to do what most do not do, that is important in our lives. We should never follow the status quo simply because it is what we can see. We should never continue down the road that is known by everyone out of nearly pure obligation. We need to carve our own path, to follow whatever it is that is calling us, to allow our lives and ourselves to be fulfilled.
Fulfillment and self-actualization should be the ultimate goal, whatever that entails. The most powerful emotions that we can experience should be the ones that we most often experience. Love, joy, and the feeling of thoughtlessness exist in the present moment. But they only exist there when we are on the path that we need to be. And, for that very reason, we all need to stop committing to obligation, the popular opinion, and the safe route. We need to take a moment to observe, be silent, and listen. We need to listen to what it is our hearts are saying, and follow the direction of our emotions, to experience a level of love, joy, and fulfillment beyond what we could ever know.