Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beyond the Competition

Many people still persist in believing that the competitive (comparative) model is helpful in providing the motivation to remain involved in one's own betterment throughout life -- as though that was the essential point, and that other people should care more than one does themselves -- which is doing things for the approval of others. While that may work at first in young people eager to gain the approval of others and find their way in the world, eventually each has to go their own way in life, not always having another's approbation to guide them, and even when they think they do, it no longer has as much power as it once may have.

At that point, one has to look towards one's own inner guidance -- as the source of strength that must be one's unshakable guide in all things. And so one must care more than anybody else that they are at their best, achieve their best, as a lifestyle, and a way of doing everything and anything in their lives -- even when there is no other to reward them for that; it is the reward they give themselves, and nobody else is going to do it for them.

But that is the importance of obtaining that development -- which is to discover and know who they really are, and not simply, what somebody and even everybody else tells them what they should be. That is the essential difference in highly self-actualizing lives -- and those who never come close to thinking that such things are possible, or even matter. One has to individually make it matter -- and that is the quality of one's life, that makes any quantity matter.

That is the only approach that will work, especially in later life -- when one is "retired" or grown-up, and no longer has the external props to keep one going and motivated -- to be at one's best. Many at that point, begin a lifetime process of disintegration and deterioration, until finally they no longer care about anything, and their life force diminishes until it is gone. So the question is, how do we continue to cultivate this essential and powerful drive for (self-)discovery by which we do not mean just petty and shoddy self-absorption (-promotion), which is merely the continuation of the need for approval that becomes so unseemly and unbecoming in fully mature people, who then become merely shells of themselves -- a person who used to be vital, and matter.

Such an outlook is not so difficult to achieve or even be aware of -- but it is not as tirelessly promoted in the media as the only way, or the way that must be for everyone. And that is where fitness activities went off on the wrong path -- to measure everyone and compare them to a singular ideal of a optimally functioning heart -- and nothing much, much greater! What they overlooked and lost was the meaning and purpose of it all -- the organizing principle and drive of individual lives, because surely, nothing is more preposterous as reducing all human activity to simply calories expended and heart beats registered as an end in itself -- and not the greater purpose and meaning.

I guarantee you no athlete (participant) in any activity, ever thinks that if they simply get their heart to beat as rapidly and vigorously as possible, that they will accomplish what they hope to achieve. In fact, there would be no greater guarantee of failure -- as such persons would become lost in the minutia of micromanaging every single function until the comprehension and mastery of the greater purpose is entirely lost -- just as many "educators" think that a person should just learn anything for its own sake, instead of only when required and absolutely necessary -- and to know the difference!

Otherwise, one quickly becomes lost in all that can be known, rather than what is essential to know -- which is the organizing principle of life that works extraordinarily well as the art and beauty of each individual. That is what one must become the best at -- which is not to become confused with simply what other people think, no matter how much they try to convince us it matters.

That is the art to life in the age of intrusive media and unrelenting promotions and propaganda.


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